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Ukraine war: Russian winter offensive falling short of Kremlin’s goals, Rosgvardia admits

Investigators examine an explosion site near a shopping center, in what Russian officials in Donetsk allege was caused by shelling by Ukrainian forces, in Volnovakha
Investigators examine an explosion site near a shopping center, in what Russian officials in Donetsk allege was caused by shelling by Ukrainian forces, in Volnovakha Copyright Alexei Alexandrov/AP Photo
Copyright Alexei Alexandrov/AP Photo
By Oleksandra Vakulina
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Russian, Ukrainian, and Western sources appear to agree that Russia's winter offensive has failed to achieve the Kremlin’s goals of seizing the Donetsk and Luhansk region administrative borders by March 31.

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Russian, Ukrainian, and Western sources appear to agree that Russia's winter offensive has failed to achieve the Kremlin’s goals of seizing the Donetsk and Luhansk region administrative borders by March 31.

Deputy Head of the Main Directorate of the Russian National Guard (Rosgvardia) in the occupied Donetsk region noted that failures during the offensive had a negative effect on morale and led to a loss of personnel.

According to the UK's ministry of defence, of the 200,000 or so casualties Russia has suffered since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a significant minority has been due to non-combat causes.

Those causes likely include poor weapon handling drills, road accidents and climatic injuries such as hypothermia. Russian commanders have identified pervasive alcohol abuse as particularly detrimental to combat effectiveness.

Meanwhile, Russian forces continue to attack Bakhmut and its surroundings. The Institute for the Study of War says they seized the AZOM plant in northern Bakhmut.

Wagner group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said his troops had raised a Russian flag on an administrative building in the city centre. 

But Ukraine has denied Prigozhin's claim and says Russian forces are “very far” from capturing the town.

Russian war bloggers have raised fears that Russian forces must conclude their offensive operations in Bakhmut and Avdiivka to prepare for a potential Ukrainian counteroffensive. 

They say Kyiv may be planning to strike between the Orthodox Easter holiday on April 16 and Soviet Victory Day on May 9.

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