Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken a hands-on approach with his troops' efforts to capture Ukraine's eastern Donbas region, it was reported Tuesday.
Putin and the head of Russia's armed forces, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, were getting involved in low-level decisions affecting the movements of units containing as few as 700 to 1,000 soldiers, The Telegraph reported.
"We think Putin and Gerasimov are involved in tactical decision-making at a level we would normally expect to be taken by a colonel or a brigadier," a source told The Telegraph.
The source added that Gerasimov remained "up and running" despite claims he had been demoted after a series of military failures in Ukraine.
The Telegraph said that Western officials attributed the Russian military's slow progress in the Donbas to the Kremlin's micromanagement of the war in Ukraine.
On Sunday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine can win the war against Russia.
"They failed to take Kyiv. They are pulling back from around Kharkiv, their major offensive in the Donbas has stalled," Stoltenberg said during a press conference.
He added that the war "is not going as Moscow had planned."
Adm. Sir Tony Radakin, head of Britain's armed forces, told Parliament Monday that Ukraine's survival was "guaranteed" and that he had been given clear direction from Prime Minister Boris Johnson that "Putin must fail," the Telegraph reported.
"If we, the responsible, democratic nations of the world, don't step up to strengthen and defend the rules and freedoms that underpin global security, then we leave that space to others that subscribe to a very different set of values," Radakin told Parliament.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), based in Washington, D.C., said that Putin had downgraded his military ambitions for the second time since beginning the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Having already given up efforts to capture the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, Russia also appeared to have abandoned plans to capture Donetsk, a pro-Russian separatist-held city.
Instead, Putin wanted his troops to seize full control over Luhansk to the northeast.
The ISW also said Russia was believed to have run out of combat-ready reserves, forcing them to turn to private military fighters and proxy militias.
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