Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The Embassy

Putin’s New Ukraine Goal Seems Pretty Clear Now: Annex Conquered Territory

Russian Military
Image of Russian Special Forces Solider. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

On day 140 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the situation has remained largely the same as the Russian military continues with its operational pause.

Moscow’s Next Targets & Illegal Annexations 

In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense touched on the likely next goals of the Russian military after the major operational pause ends but mainly focused on the illegal attempts of the Kremlin to exert administrative control over the occupied parts of Ukraine with the ultimate goal of annexing them.

“In the Donbas, Russian forces will likely focus on taking several small towns during the coming week, including Siversk and Dolyna on the approaches to Slovyansk and Kramatorsk. The urban areas of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk likely remain the principal objectives for this phase of the operation,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

“Russia continues to seek to undermine the legitimacy of the Ukrainian state and consolidate its own governance and administrative control over occupied parts of Ukraine,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.

It would not be the first time Moscow annexed Ukrainian territory. Indeed, the current conflict can trace its roots back to 2014, when the Russian military invaded and illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula in southeast Ukraine. Following that illegal act, Russian troops assisted pro-Russian breakaway insurgents in the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces (the two provinces that make up the Donbas), and thus a low-intensity conflict began. It is important to highlight that by the time the Russian forces launched a full-blown conventional war against Ukraine on February 24, the two sides had been fighting, albeit informally, for eight years.

“Recently this has included an initiative to twin Russian and Ukrainian cities and regions to develop post-conflict administrations and a decree to make it easier for Ukrainians to obtain Russian citizenship,” the British Ministry of Defense added.

However, the Russian attempts to annex occupied Ukrainian territories are facing backlash from the Ukrainians living there, and an insurgency is brewing with open acts of defiance and even sabotage and attacks against the Russian forces stationed in the areas.

“Anti-Russian sentiment in occupied Ukraine is leading to Russian and pro-Russian officials being targeted. The Russian-appointed administration in Velykyy Burluk acknowledged that one of its mayors was killed on 11 July 2022 by a car bombing. The targeting of officials is likely to escalate, exacerbating the already significant challenges facing the Russian occupiers and potentially increasing the pressure on already reduced military and security formations,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

Although the war started with lofty goals for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin advisers, almost five months later, they have had to adjust their objectives based on the reality on the ground and the lackluster performance and capabilities of the Russian military.

Putin envisioned and planned for a blitzkrieg campaign that would last anything from 72 hours to a couple of weeks, and that would capture Kyiv, topple the Ukrainian government, and place a puppet leader in place of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Well, as T.S. Eliot wrote, “between the idea and the reality falls the shadow.”

Fast-forward 140 days, Putin’s and the Russian military’s goals are now much narrower. Their stated goals for the renewed offensive that they launched in the Donbas in May is to establish full control over the pro-Russian breakaway territories of Donetsk and Luhansk (the Donbas) and link these territories and the occupied Crimea with a land corridor.

Russian Casualties in Ukraine

The rate of Russian casualties continues to be slow, a result of the theater-wide operational pause. In the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian military stated that it killed 100 Russian troops and destroyed only five vehicles or fuel tanks, three armored personnel carriers or infantry fighting vehicles, two unmanned aerial systems, one special equipment system, and one artillery piece.


TOS-1. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 37,570 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 217 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 188 attack and transport helicopters, 1,649 tanks, 839 artillery pieces, 3,832 armored personnel carriers, 247 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 2,704 vehicles and fuel tanks, 109 anti-aircraft batteries, 678 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 67 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 155 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.