US official: Russians rethink advance on Kyiv
A senior U.S. defense official says Russia’s military advance on Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv appears to have halted as it turns its focus to fighting elsewhere in the country.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe an internal U.S. military assessment of the war, said Friday that Russia appears to be concentrating more on fighting for control of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region rather than its ground offensive aimed at capturing Kyiv, at least for now.
The Kremlin seemed to confirm the shift Friday. Col.-Gen Sergei Rudskoi, deputy chief of the Russian general staff, said that the main objective of the first stage of the operation — reducing Ukraine’s fighting capacity — has “generally been accomplished,” allowing Russian forces to focus on “the main goal, liberation of Donbas.”
The Donbas is the largely Russian-speaking eastern industrial heartland of Ukraine where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014.
___ AP Military writer Robert Burns