Last war in Ukraine: Lavrov says scale of western sanctions surprised Moscow

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Russian troops’ numbers fell for the first time below 90 percent of the 150,000 they had amassed on the border with Ukraine before the invasion, a senior US defense official said on Tuesday.

Russian forces are struggling with communications, logistics and fuel, the official said, while some troops were evacuated after suffering frostbite because they lacked proper cold-weather gear.

According to the official, the Russian and Ukrainian military are locked in fierce fighting, particularly near Mariupol, a strategically located port city that Russia is now shelling from the Sea of ​​Azov.

However, Ukrainian forces are pushing to retake areas in some locations, particularly in the south near Kherson, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

“We’ve seen signs that the Ukrainians are now going a bit more on the offensive,” said John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary.

According to a March 22 report by the Institute for the Study of War, Russian forces are likely moving into a “period of protracted bombardment” of Ukrainian cities as their initial campaign to encircle and capture Kyiv and other major cities failed.

The ISW also said in its report that the head of Ukraine’s armed forces first stated on Tuesday that Russian forces “are suffering casualties due to a poor medical supply system and a shortage of medicines.” In addition, according to the ISW, the military leader claimed that some unspecified Russian units “have stocks of food and ammunition for no more than three days.”

US assessments could not be independently verified.

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