Simply hours after President Putin celebrated Russian army may in Moscow, Russian forces pounded Ukraine with missile strikes on Odesa, a big southern port metropolis essential for the nation’s financial survival, and – Russia’s defence ministry mentioned on Tuesday – made positive factors in its push for the east. The Russian defence ministry mentioned on Tuesday that its forces in jap Ukraine had superior to the border between Donetsk and Luhansk, the provinces the place Moscow-backed separatists have been combating Ukraine’s military for eight years. The ministry’s assertion, if confirmed, strengthens the prospect that Russia might acquire full management over the area, generally known as the Donbas, in contrast with only a third of it earlier than the February 24 invasion. The US director of nationwide intelligence, Avril Haines, mentioned on Tuesday that Russia’s Putin was getting ready for “a protracted battle.” Haines mentioned that Putin is not going to finish the conflict with the Donbas marketing campaign and is decided to construct a land bridge to Russian-controlled territory in Moldova. US intelligence additionally views it as more and more seemingly that Putin will mobilise his whole nation, together with ordering martial legislation, and is relying on his perseverance to put on down Western help for Ukraine. Ukraine, in the meantime, mentioned Russian forces fired seven missiles on Monday at Odesa, hitting a shopping mall and a warehouse within the nation’s largest port. One individual was killed and 5 wounded, the army mentioned. Odesa is a serious gateway for grain shipments, and its blockade by Russia already threatens international meals provides. Ukraine additionally claimed that its forces had recaptured villages from Russian troops north and northeast of Kharkiv, urgent a counter-offensive. Tetiana Apatchenko, press officer for the 92nd Separate Mechanized Brigade, the primary Ukrainian power within the space, confirmed recapture of the settlements of Cherkaski Tyshky, Ruski Tyshki, Borshchova and Slobozhanske, in a pocket north of Kharkiv in latest days. If Russia can maintain on to, or broaden, the territory it occupies within the south and the east, and keep its dominance at sea, it might additional undermine Ukraine’s already battered financial system, enhance its leverage in any future negotiated settlement and broaden its capability to stage broader assaults. These efforts, although, are coming at a heavy price. The European Financial institution for Reconstruction and Growth mentioned that Ukraine’s financial system would shrink 30% this yr, with 30 to 50% of companies having already shut down operations. The financial institution additionally forecast that Russia’s financial system would contract 10% this yr and be stagnant subsequent yr.