According to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Russian forces have highly likely repeatedly missed deadlines to achieve the aim of securing the Donetsk Oblast.
The Russian offensive has largely bogged down as Ukrainian forces increasingly target key facilities far behind the front lines – with Russian forces shifting their focus to the Donbas region amid a series of counter attacks elsewhere from Ukrainian forces.
The Russians have taken control of the entire Luhansk region, one of two provinces that make up the Donbas, and also seized just over half of the second, Donetsk.
However, despite advances, Russia currently occupies about 20% of Ukraine’s territory – with operations in the Donbas slowing.
Last week it was reported that Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was being side-lined by Vladimir Putin over problems faced by Russia in the conflict in Ukraine amid growing concerns over the time it had taken Russian forces to advance.
Now the latest update from the MoD has outlined a new deadline for Russian forces to advance from the Kremlin.
The MoD update read: “Despite its effects to contain recent Ukrainian offensive action, Russia’s main effort in Ukraine almost certainly remain its Donbas offensive operation. Its principal axes of advance in the Donbas remain at Avdiivka near Donetsk City and, 60km to the north, around Bakhmut.
"Although Russia has had the most success in this sector, its forces have still only been advancing around 1km per week towards Bakhmut.
"The political goal of the Donbas operation almost certainly remains to secure the whole of Donetsk Oblast, which would enable the Kremlin to announce the ‘liberation’ of the Donbas. Russian forces have highly likely repeatedly missed deadlines to achieve this aim.”
It added: “The Ukrainian authorities have claimed that Russian forces are now under orders to complete this mission by 15 September 2022.
"The force is highly unlikely to achieve this, which will further complicate Russia’s plans to run referendums on the occupied areas joining the Russian Federation.”
Western weapons, including US Himars multiple rocket launchers, have boosted the Ukraine military’s capability, allowing it to target Russian munitions deports, bridges and other key facilities with precision and impunity.
A blast outside the Russian Embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul has killed two members of the embassy staff and at least one civilian, a Russian state news agency and a local police official said.
A higher death toll was expected, with conflicting reports saying between eight and 10 people had been killed.
The RIA Novosti news agency said the explosion went off when a Russian diplomat came out to people waiting outside to call out the names of candidates for visas.
Citing Moscow’s Foreign Ministry, the agency later reported that two members of the embassy staff were killed.
Khalid Zadran, a spokesman for the Kabul police chief, said at least one civilian was killed and that 10 others were wounded. He said a suicide attacker tried to detonate a bomb in the crowd, but was identified by security forces who shot him.
It was not immediately clear if he was able to detonate the explosives.