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The BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner also warned that this current conflict – which started when Russian troops entered Ukrainian sovereign territory on February 24 – could drag on for a good while yet.
Gardner said: “The amount of Russian troops killed in Ukraine is the same as the amount lost in ten years of fighting in Afghanistan”
So far, Russia has thrown a large amount of force behind their invasion, but they’ve also been forced to cede ground by a resistant Ukrainian military.
Russia is also facing a united front from the rest of the countries in Europe, as well as hard-hitting sanctions from around the globe.
Gardner continued: “[Putin] has basically brought NATO and the West together as never before.”
“[Russia’s] economy is buckling under the sanctions.
“[Russia] has taken some ground, but they have been pushed back at the north of Ukraine.
“When we say that Russian troops are withdrawing from the north, it because they have lost the north against the Ukrainians.”
That being said, there’s no room for complacency just yet, as he claims that Russia is far from finished with the military action in Ukraine.
Gardner said: “Let’s not be fool[ish] about this relative calm at the moment.
“We are on an operational course at the moment, and Russia is conducting a massive assault in the Donbass."
He continued: “[The Ukrainian army] have been dragging for months and this is where this war is going to be decided.”
That’s a reference to the Russian forces failed attempt to take the capital, Kyiv.
Despite bringing a large force and heavy artillery to the city, the troops were pushed back and are currently regrouping in the east of the country, where they have a better foothold.
Still, they’re likely to be back again with another attempt, and that could happen sooner rather than later.
Gardner explained: “I am sorry to say, but even though [the new phase of the conflict] could start as early as Bank holiday weekend, it is unlikely to end quickly.
“It could potentially drag on for months, even years.
“This was Putin’s lockdown project.
“[Putin] does not want a free democratic country, which could potentially join NATO.
“[Putin] does not even want Ukraine to join the EU.
“Peace talks, when they will eventually happen, are going to be hard as Russia is going to sit on a lot of Ukrainian territory.”
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