The Russians have “shown willingness to intentionally attack civilian infrastructure,” says a senior US defense official

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Ukrainian soldiers are seen on March 2 in Kyiv’s Independence Square. (Timothy Fadek/Redux for CNN)

Russia’s attack on Ukraine is only a week old, but its consequences are already disastrous.

In the seven days since Russian troops invaded their western neighbors, hundreds of people have been reported dead and a million have fled for their lives. Energy prices are skyrocketing and food prices could be next.

No one can say for sure what will happen in the coming days and weeks, but years of relative peace and stability in Europe have already been shattered, and should fighting drag on for months, the crisis could have even greater repercussions.

What will happen to Kyiv? Russian President Vladimir Putin has made his basic goals for the invasion very clear: to disarm Ukraine, sever its ties with the NATO military alliance, and end the Ukrainian people’s aspirations to join the West.

He has also said he wants to rid the country of what he calls the “gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis who have settled in Kyiv and taken the entire Ukrainian people hostage,” a baseless and highly charged reference to the democratically elected ones Ukrainian government and its Jewish President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Russian forces are encircling the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in an apparent push to overthrow the government, and a 40-mile military convoy is closing in on the city, which has been targeted by multiple rocket and rocket attacks in recent days.

Zelenskyy has vowed to keep fighting, but he has no illusions that Putin’s forces want to “politically destroy Ukraine by destroying the head of state.”

Should these forces take the capital, Ukraine has other politicians who may be keen to fill the ranks of a pro-Russian puppet regime.

One of Putin’s key allies in Ukraine is Viktor Medvedchuk, a prominent politician and oligarch. He faces charges of treason in Ukraine and is under house arrest, but his exact whereabouts are unclear.

A general view of the port city of Odessa, Ukraine, on March 3.
A general view of the port city of Odessa, Ukraine, on March 3. (Gilles Bader/Le Pictorium/Cover Images/Reuters)

Territorial Goals: Russian forces are also conducting campaigns far from Kyiv and attempting to seize control of key cities in southern and south-eastern Ukraine, including Kherson.

The mayor of Kherson effectively admitted that Ukrainian forces relinquished control of the city on Wednesday, saying in a statement on his Facebook page that residents accept orders from “armed people who came to the city administration.” would have to – in other words, Russian armed forces.

A former NATO commander told CNN, “It’s pretty clear that Putin is pushing for a land corridor to Crimea.” Richard Shirreff, NATO’s former deputy supreme commander for Europe, said the land corridor was “an obvious target.”

“He has Crimea in the Russian Federation since 2014, he could only deliver it through the bridge across the Kerch Strait, and therefore, of course, he is trying to establish this land corridor in front of the Sea of ​​Azov,” Shirreff added.

If Russian forces capture the port city of Odessa, it’s possible to envision Moscow building a land bridge stretching across all of southern Ukraine and possibly even Transnistria — a separatist enclave in Moldova where Russian troops are stationed — with Odessa, Crimea and Ukraine connects southern and eastern Ukraine.

Read the full analysis here.

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