Speed Reads

pressure's off ... for now

Has Russia given up on taking Kyiv? Experts are divided.

After Russian troops withdrew from the Kyiv region this week to re-focus Russia's invasion on eastern Ukraine, officials told CNN that the Ukrainian capital might not be entirely out of the woods just yet.

U.S. and European officials said Putin's long-term goals remain unclear and warned that he could launch another attack on the Kyiv region if the pivot to eastern Ukraine proves successful.

Samuel Ramani, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, wrote in The Spectator that Russia appears to have given up on its "its regime-change mission in Kyiv" and is instead aiming to achieve "a de facto partition of Ukraine."

Ramani also argues, however, that Putin might not be satisfied with that outcome. "Putin's legacy to his core supporters could hinge on achieving the seemingly impossible: the subjugation of Ukraine," he writes. "As Putin fears backlash from hawks in his orbit more than anti-war demonstrators, a renewed Russian assault on Ukraine's major cities remains a possibility."

Others seemed more confident that Putin won't be back for a second attempt to capture Kyiv. "I think they learned their lesson," Peter Mansoor, a retired Army colonel and military history professor at Ohio State University, told The Associated Press.