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Ukrainian War Enters New Phase

Following Russia's withdrawal from the outskirts of Kyiv and its repositioning of forces in eastern Ukraine, the 50-day-old invasion appears to be entering a new phase.
Ukrainian War Enters New Phase

According to Camille Knight and Joseph Ataman for CNN, the Russian military is potentially preparing for a “large-scale offensive” in the east of Ukraine in the coming days, French military spokesperson Col. Pascal Lanni said on Wednesday.

“Within the next few days, 10 days or so maybe, Russia could relaunch its efforts with a large-scale offensive in the east and south to conquer the Donetsk and Luhansk regions […] or even to push as far as the Dnipro [river] if its capacities allow it,” Lanni told journalists.

Russia Invades Ukraine - Live Updates (CNN)

Excerpt from CNN: The spokesperson said that the Russian forces were carrying out air strikes and bombings in Ukraine not only “to weaken the coherence of the Ukrainian defense system, but also to disrupt Ukrainian logistical movements and capacity,” which explained the “total destruction” of Dnipro's airport by Russian troops.
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In anticipation of this renewed offensive, "Russia has reportedly tapped a new war commander to take centralized control of the next phase of battle in Ukraine after its costly failures in the opening campaign," writes Tom Palmer, Andrew Dorn, and Keleigh Beeson for NewsNation. "Until this appointment, Russia had no central war commander on the ground, and experts say the change marks a notable shift in strategy."

New Russian commander in Ukraine known as ‘Butcher of Syria’ (Tom Palmer, Andrew Dorn, Keleigh Beeson - NewsNation)

Excerpt from NewsNation: Russia has turned to Gen. Alexander Dvornikov, 60, one of the country’s most experienced military officers but also one of its most brutal, according to U.S. officials. Dvornikov has been called the “Butcher of Syria” for indiscriminately killing civilians there. "He and other senior Russian leaders have shown in the past their disregard for avoiding civilian harm and the brutality with which they conduct and prosecute their operations," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said.
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Meanwhile, more than 1,000 Ukrainian marines defending the besieged port city of Mariupol have reportedly surrendered according to John Henley for The Guardian. "In one of the most critical battles of the war, Russia’s defense ministry said on Wednesday that 1,026 soldiers from Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade, including 162 officers, had 'voluntarily laid down their arms' near the city’s Ilyich iron and steelworks."

More than 1,000 Ukraine marines have surrendered in Mariupol, says Russia (John Henley - The Guardian)

Excerpt from The Guardian: The city, the main target yet to be brought under Russian control in the eastern Donbas region, has been encircled and largely reduced to rubble during Moscow’s seven-week invasion. The city’s mayor has said 21,000 civilians have died. Its capture would mark the first fall of a major Ukrainian city and would help Russia secure a land passage between the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Luhansk in Donbas and Crimea, which Moscow occupied and annexed in 2014.
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Eliot A. Cohen for The Atlantic describes this moment as "the relatively brief but bloody war in Ukraine entering its fourth phase." He argues that "for those of us born after World War II, this is the most consequential war of our lifetime. Upon its outcome rests the future of European stability and prosperity."

This Is the War’s Decisive Moment (Eliot A. Cohen - The Atlantic)

Excerpt from The Atlantic: In the first [phase], Russia tried to depose Volodymyr Zelensky’s government and sweep the country into its embrace in a three-day campaign; in the second, it attempted to conquer Ukraine—or at least its eastern half, including the capital, Kyiv—with armored assaults; in the third, defeated in the north, Russia withdrew its battered forces, massing instead in the southeastern and southern areas for the conquest of those parts of Ukraine. Now the fourth, and possibly decisive, phase is about to begin.
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Finally, as more gruesome evidence of war crimes is uncovered in formerly occupied regions of Ukraine, US President Joe Biden has now accused Russian forces of committing acts of "genocide" against the country's people.

Previously stopping short of characterizing the war crimes as genocide, he now says Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to "wipe out the idea" of a Ukrainian identity. According to BBC News, the comments were first heard as part of a throwaway remark during a speech in Iowa about increasing inflation, telling supporters in Iowa their ability to budget should not "hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide half a world away".

The Kremlin said Mr Biden's comments were an "unacceptable" effort to "distort the situation" in Ukraine while Ukrainian President Zelensky said Mr Biden's comments were "true words of a true leader" and posted on social media that "calling things by their names is essential to stand up to evil."

Ukraine War: Biden accuses Russian troops of committing genocide in Ukraine (BBC News)

Excerpt from BBC News: "More evidence is coming out of the horrible things that the Russians have done in Ukraine. And we're going to only learn more and more about the devastation. We'll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me," President Biden said.
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