US officers warn Russia will more and more hit civilian targets and search ‘sluggish annihilation’ of Ukraine’s navy

By Katie Bo Lillis, Barbara Starr, Jim Sciutto and Jeremy Herb, CNN

(CNN) — Russia’s technique in its warfare on Ukraine is shifting towards a “sluggish annihilation” of the Ukrainian navy, US and different Western officers inform CNN, warning that Russia may give attention to a bloody and lethal bombardment of cities and civilian targets because the battle turns into a grinding warfare of attrition.

Ukrainian forces have to this point been capable of stave off Russia’s preliminary push, sustaining management of Kyiv and different main cities. However they continue to be massively outgunned and outmanned. And Russia is now bringing in heavier, extra damaging weaponry and more and more placing civilian infrastructure, after an preliminary give attention to navy targets, the officers mentioned.

The shift in technique doubtless displays a recognition by Russian President Vladimir Putin that his preliminary plan to rapidly topple Kyiv has failed, mentioned one senior Western intelligence official — partly as a result of the Ukrainians have put up a stiffer than anticipated battle and partly as a result of logistics and provide missteps have slowed the Russian advance.

However Western officers now count on that Russia will ramp up heavy weapons bombardment of Ukraine’s cities and doubtlessly march in “tens of hundreds” of troops, one US official mentioned. Finally, officers warning, Ukraine’s navy will doubtless run wanting provides wanted to maintain up the battle.

The US has delivered a whole bunch of Stinger missiles to Ukraine over the previous couple of days, together with greater than 200 on Monday, in accordance with a US official and a congressional supply briefed on the matter. However the US and NATO have made it clear they won’t commit troops to defending Ukraine.

‘Merciless navy math’

Ukraine’s will to battle “is extending this,” mentioned the senior Western intelligence official. “However the merciless navy math of this can ultimately come to bear, absent some intervention, absent some elementary change within the dynamic.”

For Ukraine, whose navy forces and civilian inhabitants have proven no indicators of capitulating, the warfare seems poised to grow to be a grim battle for survival over a protracted, unsure future.

The numbers are already bleak: Russia has misplaced roughly 3% to five% of its tanks, plane, artillery and different navy property inside Ukraine — in contrast with Ukrainian losses of roughly 10% of its capabilities, in accordance with two US officers aware of the most recent intelligence.

Moscow has leaned closely on its extra fashionable precision cruise missiles, in accordance with a supply aware of the intelligence, closely degrading Ukraine’s navy infrastructure. In the meantime, Ukraine has continued to burn by way of its provide of shoulder-fired Javelin missiles.

Western safety help has flowed throughout the border into Ukraine in latest days, protection and intelligence officers say, though they’ve declined to supply particulars on how a lot, exactly what sort or how it’s attending to the embattled Ukrainian forces.

Public statements from Ukrainian officers counsel it isn’t sufficient.

Ukrainian Overseas Minister Dmytro Kuleba advised Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a name Wednesday that Ukraine wants further deliveries of weapons “now,” Kuleba tweeted.

“They want bullets. They want bandages. They are going to want gasoline. They are going to want ammunition, along with the humanitarian help to assist with medical help, sustaining hospitals, each for fight wounded and for civilians which can be being damage,” the senior intelligence official mentioned of Ukrainian provides.

“And they’ll want quite a bit once more in ammunition and the weapons resupply, as a result of the Russian drive is each numerically and qualitatively superior,” this individual mentioned.

Fears of civilian casualties

Along with grinding down Ukraine’s navy, US and different Western officers worry Russia’s siege techniques will trigger heavy civilian casualties as Moscow goals to finally take Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv.

Whereas the primary few nights of Russia’s marketing campaign had been aimed toward navy websites, over the last three there have been missile, artillery and rocket assaults in opposition to many civilian areas, the place there could also be administrative buildings however no safety installations.

CNN has been capable of verify assaults in Irpin, close to Kyiv, in addition to Mariupol, Borodjanka, Kharkiv and Kherson.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused Russia of bringing weapons banned below the Geneva Conventions into Ukraine on Wednesday.

“We’ve seen movies of Russian forces transferring exceptionally deadly weaponry into Ukraine, which has no place on the battlefield. That features cluster munitions and vacuum bombs — that are banned below the Geneva Conference,” she mentioned.

A senior protection official mentioned Tuesday that the US couldn’t show that cluster munitions or vacuum bombs had been utilized by the Russian navy.

“We’re prone to see an enlargement of what we have seen within the final 48 hours, which is already an ideal diploma of civilian infrastructure harm — whether or not intentional or unintentional,” mentioned the senior intelligence official. “The violence stage will go up. The numbers of refugees will go up. The numbers of civilian casualties and civilian lifeless will go up.”

Russians turning to heavier forces

To make sure, the Russian navy’s offensive has confronted quite a few issues — a few of its personal making, officers say.

A 40-mile-long convoy of tanks, armored automobiles and towed artillery positioned north of Kyiv is “stalled,” the senior protection official mentioned Wednesday.

The official mentioned the US assesses there are a number of components that seem to have slowed Russia’s transfer on Kyiv, together with gasoline and meals issues, an efficient, “stiff resistance” from Ukrainians and potential morale issues inside Russia’s ranks.

However the official cautioned that the Russians would study from their errors and adapt.

The Western intelligence official mentioned {that a} week into the warfare, the Russian navy seems to have realized its preliminary method to Ukraine was problematic, which relied on the usage of lighter items that had been extra cellular however much less capable of help themselves.

“I feel a part of what you are seeing is them now catching up, seeing now it is time to introduce heavier troops,” the official mentioned. “I feel the priority we now have is that they appear to be now bringing in heavier forces, with extra armor, extra long-range artillery, heavier weapons, that aren’t simply extra damaging of their nature however, frankly, are additionally much less exact.”

Social media posts and open-source intelligence, in addition to movies and different data launched by Ukraine, have urged that many Russian troops had been unprepared for and even uninformed of the true nature of the mission they had been being despatched to perform. Primarily based on that open-source reporting, Western officers imagine that troop morale, at the very least amongst some floor items, could be very low, officers advised CNN.

That would additionally sluggish Russian progress, officers mentioned. Maybe equally vital are Ukrainian efforts to publicize Russian casualties and permit captured Russian troopers to name their family members at residence — efforts that would inform the Russian inhabitants of the warfare being waged of their title overseas.

“They [Russia] have to forestall information of Russian fight losses in their very own home viewers in a manner they’ve in each different battle that that they had not supposedly participated in,” the Western intelligence official mentioned. “And so they’ll go to nice lengths domestically to forestall that phrase from getting out.”

Estimates of Russian casualties range; Ukraine on Wednesday mentioned 6,000 Russians have been killed or wounded, whereas US sources aware of the intelligence say the evaluation is nearer to 2,000 or 3,000.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Community, Inc., a WarnerMedia Firm. All rights reserved.

Supply hyperlink