It appears that Russian original plan to surround Eastern Ukraine and divide the country along the Dnieper River has been halted. Positions in Dniepro and Zaporizhzhia were lost. In the South, the Russian army is advancing from Crimea eastward, towards the city of Mariupol and the Donetsk – Luhansk Region and westward, towards Nikolaiv and Odessa, most likely trying to go all the way towards the border with Moldova and Romania. If successful, this will cut Ukraine off of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. It will also open a land connection between Crimea and Russia, through Donetsk-Luhansk territory.
The second major front originating from Belarus in the North and from Russia in the North-East, advances towards the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv. Positions in the East, near the cities of Kharkiv and Kup’yansk are strategic locations along major highways and supply routes from Russia. The Donetsk-Luhansk enclave did not expand much since the war began, although efforts were visible to press westward in order to complete the land corridor connecting Russia with Crimea.
Talks are under way between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations in or near the town of Naroulia (Belarus), about 35 km from the border with Ukraine. French news agency reports that Ukraine requested an immediate accession to NATO. We are also hearing that Finland and Sweden are considering joining NATO. On the other side of the divide, president Putin has ordered Russian nuclear forces on high alert. Situation is becoming more dangerous. However, reports from both sides are full of psych-ops (normal part of every war), therefore it is difficult to find a reliable source of information that one could trust.