This third phase includes mobilizing Russian troops in an effort to hold onto territory it has taken.
Russia’s decision to mobilize hundreds of thousands of men marks the beginning of a new phase in Moscow’s war against Ukraine. This third phase was solidified when Russia decided to annex four regions of its embattled neighbor.
Russia launched the first phase by invading Ukraine on February 24. It initially sought to conquer Kyiv through a lightning advance on the capital, hoping Ukraine’s leaders would flee to Lviv or leave the country. Although Western states had already left Kyiv, Russia failed in its initial advance and was pushed back.
Moscow then began phase two of the war: a grinding offensive in the East. This offensive culminated in Russian forces taking some towns and villages, including the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk in June. But that offensive also stalled and Russia was soon facing a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south and east. Losing ground, Moscow then set upon this latest phase of the war.
This third phase includes mobilizing troops in an effort to hold onto territory it has taken. Russian President Vladimir Putin is pivoting away from recognizing the breakaway areas of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent countries and instead, annexing them. It is also annexing Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in the south.