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Ukraine war: Russian planning to annex eastern Ukraine this month, says US

Ukraine war: Russian planning to annex eastern Ukraine this month, says US

Pentagon: Russian Chief of Staff visited Donbas frontline

A senior Pentagon official in the US say Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov visited the frontline in the Donbas region last week, but was unable to confirm rumours that he was injured.

“What we can confirm is that we know that for several days last week he was in Donbas,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

“We don’t think he’s still there. (We think) he’s gone and is back in Russia. We can’t confirm reports that he was injured,” he said. 

An adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister said on Sunday that many Russian officers had been hit in an “explosion” in Izium, eastern Ukraine, adding that Valery Guerassimov was there at the time of the blast.

However another adviser to the minister told Ukrainian television that Guerassimov had not been injured.

“We have confirmation that he was there, in the region of Izioum (…). We have certain confirmations that he was not injured,” the second adviser said. 

Valery Guerassimov is said to have inspected the front to better understand the conditions on the ground, as Russian forces, after failing to take Kyiv, are trying to take control of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

The Pentagon official also said on Monday that Russian forces were making limited progress in their battle against the Ukrainians in the region, calling their progress “anemic”.

US officials said Russian troops have taken control of villages and then lost them to Ukrainian fighters, claiming the Russian military was demoralised and suffered from disorganised command. 

Russian progress on the battlefield is “very uneven… And in some cases, quite frankly, the best word to describe it would be anemic,” the official said.

(AFP)

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