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.
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)
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)
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)
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."