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Russia Hitting Ukraine Hard in a Bid for Lightning Victory

  • Putin likely to avoid getting bogged down in cities for now
  • Attempt to capture Kyiv through urban warfare seen as unlikely
Damaged radar arrays and other equipment near Mariupol, Ukraine, on, Feb. 24.

Damaged radar arrays and other equipment near Mariupol, Ukraine, on, Feb. 24.

Photographer: Sergei Grits/AP Photo

Updated on

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is following a course many military analysts had predicted, with a barrage of missile attacks to destroy Ukraine’s air force and air defenses quickly followed by a massive land campaign aimed at crushing armed resistance.

Events on the ground unfolded rapidly on Thursday and, while the situation remains fluid, it appears that Russian President Vladimir Putin has opted for a campaign aimed at achieving regime change, rather than a more limited takeover of the separatist Donbas territories he recognized as independent on Tuesday.