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Putin Sets ‘No Limits’ in Ukraine Land Grab

Vladimir Putin is setting “no limits” on how much territory he seeks to snatch in his war on Ukraine, defense analysts have warned.

According to a new report from a leading U.S. thinktank, the Russian president and his Kremlin staff have “intentionally set no limits to their objectives of conquest in Ukraine and have suggested repeatedly that areas outside of Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts are part of Russia.”

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) added that Russia sees a strategic need to maintain military operations on multiple fronts to prevent Ukraine from successfully conducting a counter-offensive.

Nicole Wolkov, Russia Researcher for the ISW, told Newsweek that Russia’s plans to “protract” the war will incentivize Putin to set new territorial objectives.

Vladimir Putin attends a wreath-laying ceremony

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall to commemorate the 83rd anniversary of the Nazi German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941…
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall to commemorate the 83rd anniversary of the Nazi German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 Sergey Guneev/AP

“Russia is making creeping gains to advance in Ukraine to protract the war, prevent Ukraine from conducting significant counter-offensive operations, and outlast Western security support for Ukraine,” the ISW said.

Wolkov added: “Putin likely assesses that that he can leverage Russia’s ability to maintain the initiative during that time to seize more territory. A protracted war would also provide Russia with time to continue to expand its defense industrial base and generate manpower.”

The ISW warned that a protracted war will “incentivize” Putin to explicitly set new territorial objectives as long as he believes Ukrainian forces cannot hold back his advances nor conduct meaningful counter-offensives to regain lost territory.

“Russian officials have routinely denied the existence of Ukrainian statehood and culture and have indicated their interest in territories on lands beyond these four oblasts”, the ISW said.

The ISW also stressed the importance of delivering military aid swiftly to help turn the tide of the war in Ukraine’s favor.

“If weapons are delivered in a timely fashion and consistently, this could help Ukraine conduct offensive operations,” Wolokov said amid the ongoing conflict.

It comes after documents obtained by the Washington Post suggest Russia accidentally dropped glide bombs on its territory nearly at least 38 times.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia fired hundreds of glide bombs at his country in the last week.

Putin speaks during a press briefing

Putin speaks during a press briefing with Vietnamese President To Lam at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi
Putin speaks during a press briefing with Vietnamese President To Lam at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi
Minh Hoang/AP

Writing on X, he said: “This week alone, Russia has used more than 800 guided aerial bombs against Ukraine. Against our cities and communities, against our people, against everything that makes life normal”

Glide bombs are Soviet-era munitions that have been modified to include wings and navigation systems that allow for a gliding flight path to a target. The bombs can have a payload of 1.5 tonnes.

The gliding additions allow bombs to travel much further as the heavy weaponry is fitted with precision guidance systems and launched from an aircraft flying out of range of air defenses.

Ukraine dismissed allegations from Belarus that it was amassing troops to reinforce their shared border. The Belarusian Defence Ministry claimed on Sunday that Ukraine was moving troops and weapons to the border.

Border guard spokesman Andriy Demchenko told Ukrainian TV: “It is not the first time Belarus offers information about Ukraine presenting a threat and strengthening itself. This is another part of the information operation conducted by Belarus with support by Russia.

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Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.