Former Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Zagorodniuk believes that Russia's goal at this stage of the war is to establish full control over the Donbass. He said this in an interview with The Wall Street Journal journalist.
According to Zagorodniuk, Russia will concentrate most of its remaining forces in the region.
He also noted that the commander “ special operation” Sergei Surovikin is under pressure to achieve results at least in this direction after the retreat from Kherson. “For him (Surovikin) it is a matter of dismissal or success. And he is allowed to pay any price for it,” says the ex-minister.
Zagorodniuk did not predict the results of a possible Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine, but noted that Ukraine could have “serious problems” due to concentration of all Russian forces there. “They don’t need people, they don’t need buildings, they don’t need factories – they just need territory. So they can be ruthless in the battle for literally every square kilometer,” Zagorodniuk said.
Mykola Beleskov, an analyst at the Ukrainian National Institute for Strategic Studies, agrees that the top priority for Russia today is probably to establish full control over Donetsk region and predicted the continuation of stubborn fighting in this direction.