‘Not sustainable’ Russia on brink of pausing Ukraine war to recover from catastrophic loss

Russia's current plan 'not sustainable' says Sean Bell

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Sean Bell, a retired Air Vice-Marshal and military analyst, told Sky News that Russia might have to succumb to an “operational pause” as their forces become too stretched to fend off Ukrainian counterattacks. Mr Bell said there were two foreseeable scenarios in Ukraine currently, the first of which involves the complete takeover of the Donbas, while the other is Russia trying to consolidate what they already have and recharge ahead of another offensive.

Mr Bell said: “The Russians are making progress but most western analysts think their morale, the state of their military equipment – they’re losing a lot of equipment and people at the moment – is just not sustainable. 

“Sooner or later, they are going to have to have some kind of operational pause. 

“One of the scenarios is that they do achieve the complete securing of the Donbas. 

“The question there is, it’s quite a big area and therefore their forces will be quite thinly spaced.

“It makes them very vulnerable to counterattack, particularly with western weapons aides flowing in.

“Another option is their assault grinds to a halt and because the Ukrainian resistance is so strong, what looks most likely there is that Russia would look to annex and consolidate and then build up for another surge. 

“But of course, Ukrainian military have a say in all of this and the further Russia extends itself, the more it creates opportunities for the Ukrainians. 

“But let’s be quite clear: At the moment, Russia has the momentum.” 

Russian forces have stepped up the ferocity of their offensives in the eastern regions of Ukraine as they look to consolidate some territory. 

After unsuccessful attempts at the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, a regional governor said Russia had resorted to “scorched-earth” tactics in the Donbas to make headway. 

It suggests that Russia is looking to obliterate towns, cities, and villages, razing them to the ground before more easily claiming the territory. 

The most potent example of this of late is in Mariupol, where Russia’s bombardment of the Azovstal steelworks went on for several weeks and included the use of incendiary bombs designed to incinerate defences. 


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Meanwhile, China and Russia’s air forces conducted a joint aerial patrol today that caused panic in Japan and South Korea, who both scrambled fighter jets over fears the enemy forces would invade their airspace. 

China’s defence ministry announced the patrol on its official website as part of an annual military exercise. They flew over the Sea of Japan, East China Sea, and the Western Pacific. 

But Tokyo is currently hosting a Quad summit with US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the newly-elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

The nation’s defence minister Nobuo Kishi expressed “grave concerns” to China and Russia via diplomatic channels as they neared Japanese airspace. 

In light of the circumstances, Mr Kishi said: “We believe the fact that this action was taken during the Quad summit makes it more provocative than in the past.” 

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