Putin tells Russians the brutal and poorly planned war on Ukraine is going 'according to plan'

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  • President Vladimir Putin says the war in Ukraine is going "according to plan" despite reports of setbacks for Russian troops.

  • Putin — who has been accused of war crimes — also falsely claimed that casualties in the war were the fault of "neo-Nazis."

  • Russian forces have faced fierce Ukrainian resistance, but US officials say they expect Russia to adapt to early challenges and regroup.

One week after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to invade Ukraine, he has said the war is going "according to plan."

Evidence on the ground, however, has suggested otherwise — that the war has been poorly planned and brutal in its nature.

In a televised statement with his security council, Putin also falsely blamed the rising casualties in the conflict on purported Ukrainian "neo-Nazis" and claimed without evidence that Ukraine is using civilians as "human shields."

But Ukrainian and international organizations say that Russia is targeting civilian populations, including the deadly shelling of Freedom Square in Kharkiv that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called a "war crime."

The US State Department accused Russia of "widespread" human rights abuses on Wednesday after troops reportedly fired missiles on civilian areas.

Russia is also being investigated by the International Criminal Court after at least 39 countries requested an investigation into alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

According to a Kremlin statement obtained by Reuters, Putin earlier told French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday that Russia's goals in Ukraine will be "fulfilled."

Russian forces on Wednesday captured Kherson, the first major city to be seized by Putin's army since the invasion began on February 24.

The Russian forces have been met with a surprising show of resistance in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, despite expectations that the city would fall in days.

A 40-mile-long convoy of Russian military vehicles appears to have stalled on its way to Ukraine's capital city Kyiv, and videos have surfaced showing vehicles abandoned on the sides of the roads by Russian forces.

On Wednesday, US officials said some Russian forces are "literally out of gas" in some places and are struggling to feed troops.

And in Russian schools, children were ordered to watch a broadcast on the "necessity" of a "liberation mission" in Ukraine, the latest in a series of baseless pretext justifications that Russian officials repeatedly gave leading up to the invasion.

Meanwhile, the West has united in its response toward Putin, leading to costly sanctions and other punishments as a means to try and strangle the Russian economy.

But, despite an early show of fierce Ukrainian resistance, experts have warned that the fight is far from over.

"Ukraine's military has performed really well, but I think we're going to see a different Russian approach moving forward," Michael Kofman, the Russia expert at CNA, tweeted Monday.

On Wednesday, a senior US defense official said the Russian military "will learn. They will adapt, and they will try to get past these challenges and these missteps that they have had. We should just be honest about that."

As of Thursday, US officials estimate about 90% of the forces Russia built up around Ukraine are now in the country.

And Western officials have warned that Russia's lack of anticipated progress in Ukraine thus far could lead to Putin's decision to launch a more aggressive approach.

Read the original article on Business Insider