It looks like it…
They say they will now focus on the liberation of the separatist regions in the east. This is a far cry from their previous aims which basically included regime change.
The simplest explanation may be the correct one. They never concentrated enough troops to effectively overrun Ukraine let alone conquer it. Perhaps they did expect a walk in the park rather than an uphill battle against a defiant enemy that is making use of relatively cheap and deadly new technologies. Let’s assume the Russians told us the truth when this whole thing began.
According to them they went in with limited forces and limited fire power to avoid civilian casualties. They did not want to conquer Ukraine… Their efforts to get Charkov, Mariupol, Kiev and other major cities contradicts this. It’s true they must have showed some restraint when it comes to killing civilians, because no matter what the hysterical media say civilian casualties – although absolutely regrettable and outrageous – have been fairly low for this type of war. Every life lost is further proof of how we humans are ridiculous, pathetic idiots, but yes, these losses are objectively speaking fairly low. Is that because the Russians tried to avoid civilian casualties – generally speaking, since in some instances the Russians did kill some civilians deliberately – or because their army’s performance was so poor that they couldn’t even wipe out the civilian population? I think they intentionally sought to terrorize the civilian population, but they did not intend to kill lots of them. I think they could have killed way more if that had been their intention. This is not to say that the Russians acted like humane knights in shining armor… By the way, the Ukrainians have killed more people in the separatist areas in the past 8 years than the Russians have during their offensive. Worth mentioning. Personally I am convinced the Russians could have performed a lot better. They made lots of mistakes and their enemies did not. Key factors were logistics, morale, overall strategy and pure numbers. The Russians never had enough troops there to be successful. On paper Russia has the required manpower, so perhaps their logistics do not allow for a greater troop concentration.
The statement may be a trick to let their enemy relax and become less vigilant, but from history we know that whenever an offensive gets bogged down it does not regain momentum. Russia’s best chance to win this war was in the first two weeks, but they did not use the maximum fire power available to them to fully capitalize on the initial shock effect. Plus, they focussed on two many goals at the same time. Instead of spreading their forced thin they should have cut off the entire eastern part of Ukraine and Charkov should have fallen within a week, with Mariupol next in line.