Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice believes Moscow is determined to maintain control over territories that voted to become part of Russia amid the war in Ukraine.
Rice, along with former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, indicated in a joint piece to The Washington Post that “defeat for Putin is not an option,” adding that “He cannot cede to Ukraine the four eastern provinces he has declared part of Russia.”
They added, “he must retain control of positions in eastern and southern Ukraine that provide future jumping-off points for renewed offensives to take the rest of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, control the entire Donbas region and then move west.”
According to Rice and Gates, “the country’s (Ukraine) economy is in shambles, millions of its people have fled, its infrastructure is being destroyed, and much of its mineral wealth, industrial capacity and considerable agricultural land are under Russian control.”
The article stated that with the failure of Ukrainian forces to repel the Russian forces, Western pressure will increase on Kiev to negotiate a cease-fire.
The two former officials believe that “Ukraine’s military capability and economy are now dependent almost entirely on lifelines from the West — primarily, the United States.”
In a related context, an official in the US administration confirmed during a press briefing on January 5th that the Russian army has made “gradual progress in the city of Bakhmut,” located on the western outskirts of the Donetsk region.
“The US leadership’s assessment is that the Russians will continue to make some progress in this regard,” the US official stressed.
He added, “There is still fierce fighting, as the Ukrainians continue to fight, and the Russians, in turn, continue to make gradual progress there,” suggesting that “fighting will continue along the line in Donetsk in the foreseeable future.”