(NewsNation) — After failed attempts to take Kyiv and oust the Ukrainian government, Russia has shifted its goal to capturing eastern Ukraine, where the Kremlin claims to have taken control of 97% of one of the two provinces that make up the so-called Donbas.
NewsNation host Leland Vittert joined “Rush Hour” on Wednesday to display, via map, what Russia’s new occupancy looks like and the implications that comes with it.
According to Vittert, this new leg in the Russia Ukrainian conflict is a tale of two wars.
He explains that while the former Soviet power had a hard time in the west and south sides of Ukraine, the eastern region gives them more of a tactical and strategic advantage, because they’re closer to Russian supply lines, and the fact that the rural and agricultural terrain is more favorable to their tanks and long-range artillery.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow’s forces hold nearly all of Luhansk province. And it appears that Russia now occupies roughly half of Donetsk province, according to Ukrainian officials and military analysts.
“It is setting up right now for just another piece in Vladimir Putin’s list of things that he wants to accomplish before he declares victory. These incremental victories are leading a lot of experts to say it may be pretty soon that Russia declares they’re done,” Vittert said.
The Donetsk and Luhansk provinces are also the heart of Ukraine’s famous breadbasket region, which, Vittert explains, is also key to their objective.
“The longer that the Ukrainians are not able to export grain and wheat and soy beans and sunflower oil, the longer and the more likely a food crisis across the entire world could be come fall,” Vittert said.
Watch the entire segment above.