Comment: It appears that Russia is establishing a land corridor connecting Crimea with the mainland. Additional goals may include cutting Ukraine from access to the Sea of Azov (already achieved), as well as from the Black Sea, if Mykolaiv (Nikolaev) and Odessa are taken by Russia in the next phase of military operations. It is a slow offensive. It is taking a long time in order to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties and minimize own military losses. This step-by-step approach helps Russia in concentrating on one or two areas of operation at a time, while remaining fronts are “digging in” and waiting for their turn. Will Russia attempt to secure and establish a buffer zone between itself and NATO by taking control over, or annexing, the eastern Ukraine (east of the Dnieper River), remains to be seen.
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