Earlier this week, the government in Kyiv said it was giving up the fight for the devastated city, but a band of diehard soldiers remained holed up in the plant.
Completing its takeover of Mariupol allows Russia to continue moving troops to the Donbas, now the focus of its offensive after its failure to capture Kyiv or the northeastern city of Kharkiv. But having been tied up so long in Mariupol and suffered losses, the forces there “must be re-equipped and refurbished before they can be redeployed effectively,” which can be a lengthy process, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in its daily assessment of the war.
The Russian military has fallen well short of Putin’s goals for his so-called special military operation in Ukraine. To try to notch more successes quickly, “Russia will probably redistribute their forces swiftly without adequate preparation, which risks further force attrition,” the British assessment said.
The British government reported earlier that a number of senior commanders had already been relieved of their posts, including Lt. Gen. Serhiy Kisel, whose fighters were unable to subdue Kharkiv. Vice Adm. Igor Osipov, the head of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, has also likely been suspended following the sinking of the flagship cruiser Moskva last month, a stunning victory for Ukraine that was aided by U.S.-provided intelligence.
“A culture of cover-ups and scapegoating is probably prevalent within the Russian military and security system,” the British Ministry of Defense said. “Many officials involved in the invasion of Ukraine will likely be increasingly distracted by efforts to avoid personal culpability for Russia’s operational setbacks.”
(McDonnell reported from Kyiv, Chu from London and Jenny Jarvie from Atlanta.)
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