Analyzing the operational situation in Ukraine after 24 days of the War we can make the following conclusions:
- Russian troops, having lost a hope to encircle Kyiv quickly, to capture Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia, as well as having failed to encircle a group of Ukrainian troops in the Donbas, are throwing all their efforts into capturing Mariupol;
- a short-term minimum goal is to reach the administrative borders of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, try to encircle and destroy the grouping of Ukrainian troops in the combat zone in the Donbas;
- the achievement of this goal would help convince the people in Russia, who are fooled by propaganda, that the "Special Operation" was a successful and reached its initial goals;
- the current ultimate goal is to provide a land corridor to Crimea from the temporarily occupied territories in Donbas and Russia. Mariupol remains the only obstacle to reach it;
- Russia continues to blackmail the Ukrainian authorities by increasingly brutal terrorist attacks with heavy casualties among civilians, especially women and children. An example of this strategy is the destruction with heavy air bomb of a Drama Theater in Mariupol earlier this week.
- Putin continues to hold more than 350 000 residents of Mariupol as hostages by blocking access for humanitarian convoys, thereby causing a humanitarian catastrophe in the city.
Today in the occupied territories from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia - including Berdiansk - a several-days curfew was imposed.
It is impossible neither to enter nor to leave the settlements on the way of the so-called "humanitarian corridor" at this time.
Thus blocking evacuation of those citizens who have managed to leave Mariupol, Putin is raising stakes in negotiations for peaceful settlement between Ukraine and Russia;
- simultaneously, not only the military infrastructures throughout the country are being destroyed, but Russian terrorist attacks against the civilians are also being carried out by targeted missile strikes. The goal is to force Zelensky to sign capitulation in the nearest future on favorable for Putin conditions.
- after gathering reserves in Russia, occupants will try at least to surround Kyiv and to cut off logistics chains to the capital of Ukraine.
For that purpose Putin is trying to push on Lukashenko to make Belarus join the war against Ukraine. And the risks after all Belarus diplomats leaving Ukraine are extremely high.
- the purpose of the recent Russian missile attacks against military infrastructure and ammunition depots in the West of Ukraine is to prevent the AFU from long-term resistance and to push Ukraine to reach the truce deal on the Kremlin's conditions a.s.a.p.
- in the long-term perspective - to prevent Ukraine from restoring its military potential for a new active phase of the war, which will inevitably come - even if the truce will be reached and hostilities will end in the next week or two.
Putin has been preparing for a full-scale invasion to Ukraine for seven years after the signing of "Minsk-2 agreements" in February 2015.
And he will not give up the idea to destroy Ukraine as sovereign and independent state.