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UK prime minister will journey to Poland and Estonia on Tuesday 

5 days into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it appears issues have not gone precisely to plan for Vladimir Putin to this point.

Western intelligence officers briefed repeatedly over the weekend that Russian forces have encountered “stiffer than anticipated” resistance from an outmanned and outgunned Ukrainian army.

Russia has so far did not take key cities throughout Ukraine, together with the capital Kyiv. On Sunday, Ukrainian forces efficiently repelled a Russian advance on a strategic airfield close to Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest metropolis, which has been below near-constant assault.

Along with a fierce fightback from Ukrainian forces and civilians, the Russian invasion has suffered logistical challenges, with troopers on the entrance line working in need of gasoline, ammunition and meals.

“They’re having issues,” a NATO official mentioned of the Russian forces, pointing to the alliance’s newest intelligence. “They lack diesel, they’re continuing method too sluggish and morale is clearly a difficulty.”

However a senior US protection official instructed reporters on Sunday that Russia has solely used two-thirds of the entire fight energy utilized to the mission, leaving a big quantity of forces obtainable to press the offensive.

And on Monday, a miles-long convoy of Russian army autos was bearing down on the Ukrainian capital, whereas Kyiv’s intelligence additionally suggests Belarus is ready to hitch the Russian invasion, in line with a Ukrainian official.

Representatives from Ukraine and Russia have been assembly Monday on the Belarusian border. In these talks, Ukraine will insist on an “fast ceasefire” and the withdrawal of Russian troops — although, realistically, nobody is anticipating that to occur.

Putin, it appears, hasn’t simply misjudged Ukraine’s potential to defend itself, but in addition simply how exhausting a line the worldwide neighborhood would take towards Russia within the occasion of an invasion.

For years, the Russian president has confronted little or no pushback from the West over his unlawful annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, his brutal help for the Syrian regime and acts of aggression in different nations.

For all their sturdy phrases of condemnation for Putin and his regime, Western nations nonetheless purchased fuel from Russia, supplied a protected haven to Russian oligarchs and retained comparatively regular diplomatic relations with Moscow.

However this time round — regardless of a couple of early rocky patches which noticed Western nations accused of not hitting Russia exhausting sufficient — Putin has confronted an unusually united Western alliance.

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