Beren wrote:Sure, efficiency and effectiveness were more important at the beginning than they're now. At the beginning Ukraine should have been taken by a sudden strike, which was their primary objective, now they're just struggling to take the Donbas somehow. Russia's lowering its objectives instead of elevating its war efforts, especially in the hinterland. Putin's just changing commanders while he's not willing to mobilise and escalate, but not any of his generals will be able to defy material circumstances and do wonders for him on the battlefield.
Putin is not holding back. The very fact the war objectives have been scaled down dramatically is evidence of this. He was forced into scaling down after various tactical and eventually strategic failures, he didn't choose to scale down.
Had Putin started with the Donbas only from the start, maybe this point of puting "holding back" might have some credence. Right now, it simply doesn't. If his intent was to hold back, why did he even try for Kyiv?