“We don’t know what Putin understands about how the war is going, and I would be surprised if he was already willing to downsize his political objectives,” said Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a senior fellow and director of the Transatlantic Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. “He’s just getting geared up on the homefront in terms of mobilizing the public for support.”
In recent days, senior Russian defense officials have indicated a shift in strategy to focus on eastern Ukraine, where analysts fear they could encircle thousands of Ukrainian troops stationed in the region, cutting them off from the rest of the country’s armed forces.
"Part of this could be about them trying to encircle Ukrainian forces in that area, and then if that’s the case, they could push against Kyiv or other areas once again,” said Kendall-Taylor, who previously served as a senior Russia analyst at the CIA.
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