Russia’s war in Ukraine has entered a third phase, that of prolonged combat. The analysis is by Viktor Andrusiv, councilor of the Ukrainian Minister of the Interior. Phase one, he explained on television last night, was the attempt to take Ukraine “in a few days”. In the second the Russians tried to encircle the Ukrainian forces to defeat them in some besieged areas. But now that neither of these two phases has brought the desired results, we have entered a third, which sees the Russians trying to defend the territorial advantages obtained so far. “This shows that they are thinking of a long war.” Moscow, Andrusiv reasoned, seems to think that by dragging the war it will be able to force the West to sit down at the negotiating table and Ukraine to surrender. Meanwhile, difficult negotiations continue on the fate of the Ukrainian soldiers still trapped in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. This was said by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his usual late-night speech. “Very complex negotiations are underway on the next phase of the evacuation, that of the wounded and the doctors,” said Zelensky, quoted by the BBC. “We are doing everything possible to evacuate all the others as well, each of our defenders,” he added. Kiev makes use of “influential intermediaries”, he later declared himself, without giving any other details.
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