How will the next phase in Russia's war in Ukraine look like? | DW News


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How will the next phase in Russia's war in Ukraine look like? | DW News



Russian forces started to ‘reposition’ to focus on their offensive in eastern Ukraine. Russia has continued to bombard areas where it pledged to scale back. Meanwhile, the US says some troops have begun moving away from Kyiv for deployments elsewhere in Ukraine.

Russia has promised a temporary cease-fire to let residents of the besieged port of Mariupol flee on Thursday. “Russia’s Armed Forces declare – exclusively for humanitarian purposes – a cease-fire on March 31 from 10 am,” Major General Mikhail Mizintsev said according to Interfax. However, safe evacuation corridors have functioned only sporadically at best with Russian and Ukrainian forces blaming each other of sabotaging the escape of civilians. A Ukrainian presidential adviser said street fighting was heavy in Mariupol and half the city was in the hands of Russian forces. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Russian forces were “very, very close” to the center of the strategic port city.

Russia’s Defense Ministry reiterated its plan to focus forces on securing the separatist republics in the Donbas despite its forces continuing to bombard Kyiv and Chernihiv on Wednesday. “A planned regrouping of troops is taking place in the Kyiv and Chernihiv areas,” spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said. The general staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in a Facebook post a “partial withdrawal” of Russian forces from the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions was underway. The US also confirmed that “less than 20 percent” of the Russian contingent in the vicinity of the Ukrainian capital were starting to “reposition.” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Russia was expected to refit and resupply them for redeployment and not bring the forces home. Kirby also told a news briefing Russian contractor Wagner Group had deployed about 1,000 contractors into the Donbas region.

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