Putin splits Ukraine in two with success in Donbass

71-year-old Tamara is crying in front of her apartment? building destroyed in the southern port city of Mariupol. PHOTO: Reuters

They are offering between $ 600 and $ 3,000 in salaries to former Syrian soldiers to fight for Moscow

Russia’s major offensive in eastern Ukraine has begun with the ultimate goal of splitting the country in two, experts say. Since Monday night, Moscow has been stepping up its strikes in the east to “liberate” areas there. Russia has already deployed about 20,000 mercenaries from Syria, Libya and other foreign countries in Donbass, without being equipped with heavy equipment or armored vehicles, a European official was quoted as saying by the Guardian. He added that he expected “complete destruction” of the besieged city of Mariupol, and expressed fears that “this will be even worse than Bucha”.

Former Syrian soldiers are offered monthly salaries of between $ 600 and $ 3,000, depending on rank and experience, to fight in Ukraine. Russia’s Wagner group has reportedly relocated most of its troops to Libya, and according to Ukrainian intelligence, Russia has struck a deal with Libyan-backed leader Khalifa Haftar to send Libyan fighters.

Military experts expect Moscow to try to encircle Ukrainian forces by advancing north of Izyum in the Kharkiv region and south of Mariupol. After that, Russian troops hope to crush the last Ukrainian resistance at the giant steel plant in Mariupol and bring the offensive to full speed. There are also growing predictions that the Kremlin will try to use its forces north of Crimea to try to take over the industrial centers of Zaporozhye and the Dnieper, and thus finally effectively split Ukraine in half.

A senior British national security adviser also shares these expectations. He warned the London government that

the Russian offensive could last several months

If the attack in Donbass is successful, Moscow’s forces will effectively divide Ukraine into two parts. This will give Vladimir Putin a result to brag about after he failed to take Kyiv, the Independent reports.

A Ukrainian military commander hiding at the Azovstal factory in Mariupol warned on Wednesday that his troops were facing their “last days, if not hours” after they refused Moscow’s ultimatum to lay down arms. Sergei Volina, who is among the Ukrainian Marines defending the city, said the Russians outnumbered them by ten, and asked for help in evacuating wounded civilians. An adviser to the mayor of Mariupol described the situation in the surrounding complex as “terrible” and said about 2,000 people – mostly women and children – were without “normal” supplies of drinking water, food and fresh air.

The Kremlin is believed to have four goals in this second phase of the war – capturing Donbass, securing a land bridge to Crimea, where Mariupol is crucial, capturing the Kherson region to secure water supplies to Crimea, and capturing additional territory that can be used as a buffer or bargaining chip in negotiations.

The Russian president expressed confidence that thanks to his country, peace will come to Donbass. Speaking about his so-called “military special operation”, Vladimir Putin said that “he will act consistently and achieve a situation in which life in Donbass will gradually return to normal.”

At the same time, the Pentagon announced that Ukraine had received fighter jets and parts to repair the existing ones. However, no details are given as to which models are in question and from which country they are provided. “They have more fighters today than they did two weeks ago,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, suggesting they were Russian-made. “Other countries that have experience with this type of aircraft have been able to help them have more functioning machines,” he said. However, Kyiv rejected the claim and said that only spare parts and equipment for the restoration and repair of Ukrainian “aircraft” were received.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he saw

massive gathering of Russian troops,

who are preparing to attack his country. “Now practically the entire combat-ready part of the Russian army is concentrated on the territory of our country and in the border areas of Russia,” he said. According to him, the Russian side has “gathered almost everyone and everything that is capable of fighting us.” Zelensky added that the Kremlin had not responded to a proposal to exchange Viktor Medvedchuk, close to Putin, for the defenders of Mariupol. The Ukrainian president reiterated his calls for more arms supplies.

Romania is ready to provide Ukraine with deadly weapons from the national defense reserves – the army and special services, according to Ukrainian media. This became possible after changes in Romanian legislation.

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