On the battlefield, the Russian armed forces cannot currently boast of conquests. The Russian military no longer speaks of the former goal of attacking the Ukraine from almost every direction and then taking the country within a few days. According to the deputy head of the Ukrainian military intelligence service HUR, Vadim Skibitsky, the plan was doomed to fail anyway. After all, the Russian army would have made a crucial mistake already at the very beginning of the offensive.

“According to our information, the attack operation was postponed three times, most recently in mid-February,” Skibitsky told “Bild”. Russia’s President Putin, Chief of Staff Gerassimov and Defense Minister Shoigu are said to have discussed it several times. The Russian secret service FSB in particular is said to have exerted a lot of pressure. “The FSB pushed for the attack, they were convinced they had done enough preparatory work for the invasion. They had invested tremendous resources and they were urging Gerassimov to attack,” said the deputy intelligence chief. The chief of staff then gave in and launched a war of aggression.

Apparently, this was initially planned as a blitzkrieg. “The fact that their units were only equipped with food, ammunition and fuel for three days shows how badly they miscalculated,” says Skibitsky. Inadequate preparation for what could have been a protracted war would have had fatal consequences: some of the best units in the Russian army would have suffered significant losses in the first days of the war.

Under these conditions, the realization of the first strategic goals was not possible. The planned encirclement of Kiev and the capture of the cities of Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy failed. At the beginning of the war, the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force (TDF) also played a role in this. Commanders of this group of volunteers met in Kharkiv a week before the start of the offensive to discuss defense plans. When the war broke out, the TDF would have played a key role in defending the Ukrainian cities.

That would also have had an impact on the Russian army’s war planning: “Because they were unable to take these cities in the east, their advance came to a standstill,” says Skibitsky. Likewise, taking Mariupol in southern Ukraine would have taken longer and required more forces than planned. The 10,000 Russian soldiers who had to be deployed there were ultimately missing in Donbass.

Even now, almost ten months after the beginning of the war, the formation of the Russian army has hardly improved. On the contrary: after Skibitsky’s appointment, Putin’s armed forces are doing badly due to the loss of valuable war material in combat and the sanctions that make it difficult to supply and manufacture spare parts. The fact that Iran is now supplying Moscow with drones and ballistic missiles does not remedy the situation. After all, Tehran fears further western sanctions and is therefore delaying the delivery of the missiles.

An unknown gunman fired on a patrol in Rostov-on-Don region in southern Russia, injuring a police officer. The man was dressed in camouflage and was armed with an assault rifle. The deserter is said to be still on the run.

The Russian military reports advances in eastern Ukraine. Putin was disappointed by Angela Merkel’s recent comments on Ukraine. All current voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found in the ticker.