Russia, frustrated by early battlefield setbacks in Ukraine, could be shifting its strategy to siege warfare just as President Vladimir Putin raises the risk of a catastrophic miscalculation by putting nuclear forces on heightened alert, a senior U.S. defense official said on Sunday.
Putin gave the order to his nuclear forces as Washington assesses that Russian troops have made limited progress in their four-day-old invasion due to stiff Ukrainian resistance and planning failures that have left some units without fuel or other supplies, U.S. officials said.
As missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities, hundreds of thousands of civilians, mainly women and children, were fleeing the Russian assault into neighboring countries.
The United States assesses that Russia has fired more than 350 missiles at Ukrainian targets so far, some hitting civilian infrastructure, the senior U.S. defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Still, it had so far mainly focused on military targets.
Sign Up for Lisa’s Top Ten to get a daily briefing on the world each morning.
Start your free trial today.