Putin has already “resigned” from invading kyiv, says the head of the Pentagon

Vladimir Putin has “resigned” from taking kyiv to focus on breakaway areas in Donbas, and the outcome of the war in Ukraine “remains to be seen,” top US military officials said Thursday.

“Putin thought he could quickly take control of Ukraine, quickly take control of the capital. He was wrong,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told a congressional hearing.

“I think that Putin has given up his efforts to capture the capital and is now focusing on the south and east of the country,” he added before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

However, the outcome of the war, which promises to be a long one, remains uncertain, said US Chief of Staff General Mark Milley.

“It will be a long-term job,” he said. “There is still a big battle ahead in the southeast, where the Russians intend to concentrate forces and continue their attack. So it remains to be seen how this will play out.”

Ukraine has received some 60,000 anti-tank systems of the United States and its alliesand the Ukrainian army uses antipersonnel mines that force Russian soldiers to fight in areas where they are most vulnerable, General Milley said at the same hearing.

The West has also provided the Ukrainians with some 25,000 anti-aircraft systems of various kinds that have prevented Russia from taking control of Ukrainian airspace, the military man added.

Milley also noted that the Ukrainian military is now calling for tanks and artillery to repel the upcoming Russian offensive.

“The terrain (in the southeast) is different from that in the north. It is much more open and conducive to shielding operations from both sides,” he explained. “They could use more tanks and artillery, and that’s what they ask for.”

The defense minister appeared to acknowledge that the United States believed, at least at the beginning of the conflict, that Ukraine would not be able to regain control of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in Donbas, which is now Moscow’s declared target.

Questioned repeatedly by Republican Senator Tom Cotton about the information that US military intelligence shares with the Ukrainians, Austin admitted that until now he had not covered the breakaway regions.

“We provide them with intelligence to carry out operations,” including in Donbas, he said.

But when asked explicitly by Cotton if this intelligence referred to the areas controlled since 2014 by pro-Russian separatists, he acknowledged that the instructions given to military analysts so far “were not clear.”

“We want to make sure that is clear to our forces,” he added. “That is the goal of today’s new instructions.”

US intelligence services had predicted war in Ukraine with remarkable accuracy, but had not anticipated fierce Ukrainian resistance. They feared that kyiv would fall within 48 hours and that the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky, would be immediately deposed and replaced by a pro-Russian regime.

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