Kirby: ‘Too early to tell’ if new Russian strategy will work

(NewsNation) – A renewed fight for Ukraine’s eastern region appears to be underway with a revamped strategy from Russia, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told NewsNation on Monday, echoing an update from the president. Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“Russian troops have started the battle for Donbass,” Zelenskyy announced in a video address. He said that a “significant part of the entire Russian army is now focused on this offensive”.

Kirby told NewsNation’s Kellie Meyer that the Pentagon has seen a shift in Russia’s strategy. The logistical pipelines for food and equipment already appear to be in place for this theater of war, he said. When Russia tried to take kyiv, they expected it to go so fast that these chains of infrastructure might form later.

kyiv did not fall, and the United States believes that was partly because the 40-mile convoy of Russian tanks stalled due to lack of supplies. Kirby says it looks like they learned from that mistake.

But Kirby also said it was “too early to tell” whether this attack will go any better for Russia than their failed attempt to besiege the Ukrainian capital.

“That doesn’t mean they’ve solved all their logistics problems or integrated air and ground operations,” Kirby said. “It remains to be seen to what extent this effort will bear fruit for the Russians.”

The Donbass region in eastern Ukraine is home to more Russian sympathizers than other parts of the country. There has been a simmering war there for eight years, and Putin started the war after alleging that separatists there had asked for his help.

Although some speculated that the fighting could stop if Ukraine ceded that part of the country to Putin, Zelenskyy and others vowed not to.

“No matter how many Russian soldiers are taken there, we will fight,” Zelenskyy said. “We will defend ourselves. We will do it every day.

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Due to the long-running conflict there, both sides know the terrain well. Kriby said it was “kind of like Kansas – flat and open”.

The Pentagon believes the geography lends itself to longer-range attacks, which Kirby says underscores the need for artillery shells.

President Joe Biden’s latest $800 million aid package includes howitzer cannons, but they have yet to arrive in Ukraine. Kirby wouldn’t say when they get there, only that the United States has secured them and that they should arrive in Europe “soon”. The Americans will also provide weapons training outside Ukraine.

Despite the help, Kirby said the next phase of this war won’t be any easier on the world to watch.

“We believe it could be bloody and potentially prolonged.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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