In a major blow to Vladimir Putin, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken asserted that Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty will outlast the Russian President’s regime. Secretary Blinken’s comments at a press briefing come as Russian troops have gained full control of the strategic city of Severodonetsk in the eastern Donbas region. It was of the last cities standing in the way of Russians controlling the Luhansk province – one of the Donbas’ two provinces that Putin recognises as independent states.
Despite Russian troops’ “slow and painful advances”, Secretary Blinken warns Putin that he “has already lost”, as Ukrainian forces will resist and grow stronger over time – and ultimately outlast his regime.
Speaking to reporters, Secretary Blinken said: “First, Ukraine is defending itself with extraordinary courage and resilience. And Russia has already lost. President Putin’s objective, in his own words, was to eliminate Ukraine as a sovereign independent country. That effort has failed.
“Sovereign independent Ukraine is going to be around a lot longer than President Putin is on the scene. In terms of its military campaign, Russian forces failed badly in their attempt to capture Kyiv. Due to safe Ukrainian resistance, Russia has dramatically altered its strategy, scaled back its new objectives and focus instead on capturing territory in the East to try to shift the momentum and allow President Putin to falsely claim victory.”
Putin is now deploying Russian forces in the eastern Donbas region, which has seen fighting raging on since 2014. After eight years of war, Russia appears to be making advances in the region and is on the brink of gaining full control of the region’s Luhansk province. Russia’s Defence Ministry confirmed Russian forces have taken full control of the eastern side of the Siverskyi Donets River and all the borders of the Luhansk province.
Secretary Blinken added: “But while Russia has made slow, painful gains in one region, those gains have been far from decisive. And they’ve come at an extraordinarily high cost.
“Public reports indicate that tens of thousands of Russian troops have been killed or wounded since the invasion began. Russia continues to lose a large number of tanks, aircraft, ships, equipment, and munitions.”
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According to the latest report by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, 34,530 Russian servicemen have died since the beginning of the war. Ukrainian forces have also destroyed 1,507 Russian tanks, 3,637 combat armoured vehicles, 759 artillery systems, 241 multiple rocket launcher systems, 99 air defence systems, 216 warplanes and 183 helicopters.
“Even if Russia succeeds in capturing more territory, he will inherit cities and towns that his own artillery have turned to rubble – and the local population that hates him,” Secretary Blinken said.
Ukrainian President Zelensky estimated the cost of rebuilding Ukraine at $600billion due to Russia’s mass destruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure and the crushing effects of the war on its economy. While he encouraged global companies to invest in Ukraine, he also said Russia must bear the brunt of the cost.
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