US Says ‘No Major Territorial Gains’ By Russians In Donbas So Far

US defense officials told CNN on Wednesday that Russia has made no significant territorial gains in Donbas after a major renewed offensive kicked off there at the start of this week, marking a ‘new phase’ in the war. But given the intensely competing narratives and information warfare, including all that goes along with the ‘fog of war’, such assessments should be taken with a grain of salt.

“Early in Russia’s expanded offensive in the Donbas, the US assesses there have been no major territorial gains for Russia so far since the start of the new push, according to two senior US officials with direct knowledge of the assessment,” CNN writes.

Russian tanks near Mariupol, via AP

“The US has observed some new attacks by Russian forces, which appear to be probing attacks to test Ukrainian defenses, one of the officials said,” the fresh report continues. “However, the frontlines remain static with no major territory changing hands as of yet.”

This comes after on Tuesday a European diplomatic official was widely cited as saying Russian forces will likely completely overtake the southeast port city of Mariupol by week’s end, stressing that “we do expect a complete destruction of the city and many civilian casualties in Mariupol.” The official said it’s only a matter of “days”. 

And the perhaps couple thousand Azov militants said to be holed up in the sprawling Azovstal steel plant, vastly outnumbered and outgunned by the Russian military, appear to be facing imminent defeat

A Ukrainian Marine commander gave a somber warning to the world about the state of his forces in the besieged port city of Mariupol, saying they “may have only a few days or hours left.”

“The enemy units are dozens of times larger than ours, they have dominance in the air, in artillery, in ground troops, in equipment and in tanks,” Serhiy Volyna, commander of Ukraine’s 36th marine brigade, said in a video message, Reuters reported.

Russia says it has opened up a humanitarian corridor, along with initiating a pause in fighting, in order for civilians to make a safe exit from Mariupol.

Based on most estimates there’s likely at least tens of thousands of civilians that remain in the devastated city.

“Taking into account a catastrophic humanitarian situation in Mariupol, we’ll be concentrating our efforts in this direction today,” Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced on social media.

“We have managed to get a preliminary agreement on a humanitarian corridor for women, children and elderly persons,” she said. The prior day a reported at least 120 civilians exited the area of the Azovstal steel plant complex.

Read further at ZeroHedge

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