Sergey Mikheyev, political scientist and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, admitted on Russia’s most-watched channel that their goals have changed since the beginning of this conflict on February 24. He said “success should remain on our side” but that now “war will determine our plans”, implying that the hopes of a clean and swift sweep of Ukraine are no longer an option. In what appears a nod to the manipulation of information by Russian higher-ups, Mr Mikheyev added: “Whatever we can obtain will be later named our goals.”
The scientist said: “Success should remain on our side, we shouldn’t allow anyone to laugh at our success.
“Regarding our goals: I am absolutely convinced that this is our land, it’s definitely our land.
“It’s not about Ukraine and the state in which it may exist. Generally speaking, it is our historic land.
“It ended up in this state solely because of mistakes, misunderstandings, or treachery.
“Meanwhile, regarding our plans, unfortunately, the war will determine our plans, if we are to remain sober.
“Our goals will be based on what is achievable. Whatever we can obtain will be later named our goals.
“No joy in that, but that’s what I believe will happen. We should strive not to leave the Ukraine question for the next generation to handle.
“It’s risky to leave this question to future generations. We don’t know what the next generations will be like, and we should be working on that.”
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Russia withdrew from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv to salvage some semblance of victory in the eastern and southern regions of the conflict area.
The decision to fight closer to home was a strategic one, affording Russia easier access to more troops and weaponry.
Ukraine has described the renewed offensives as a “scorched-earth” strategy in which Russian forces look to obliterate areas into submission.
The besieged, southern port city of Mariupol suffered weeks of relentless bombardment, including several incendiary munitions, until Ukrainian defenders were forced to surrender.