Russia will likely increase indiscriminate civilian attacks on Ukraine as it becomes frustrated with its lack of progress, Western officials have warned.
Attacks like the one on a theatre in Mariupol in eastern Ukraine, where hundreds were sheltering, or on the maternity hospital also in the city, are likely to increase due to a lack of progress and the type of weapon being used by Russia, they said.
“As Russia becomes frustrated, and as it uses weapons which are less discriminate in nature… it is inevitable that there are more attacks on [civilians],” a Western official said on Tuesday. “They're not using precision weapons, and the effect is by definition, indiscriminate.”
“It is quite possible that we remain in this phase of the conflict for some time, where the Russians continue to grind forward, slowly seeking to encircle and then demolish Ukrainian centres of population,” they said.
It is thought that Russia’s invasion is not going to plan after it miscalculated the strength of Ukraine’s opposition. Despite Russia’s mounting attack on Kyiv stalling, officials fear it will continue with its pre-war objectives.
After nearly 4 weeks of fighting, many are attempting to predict Russia’s next move. Officials worry that Russia will escalate the violence, and that they might use biological or chemical weapons – which are banned for warfare under the Geneva convention.
“[The use of chemical or biological weapons] remains a scenario that concerns us greatly,” officials said. It could not confirm any use yet in the country.
Another possible outcome is a continuation of the current position, where Russia continues to attack but fails to progress. If it becomes clear military means won’t improve both countries’ position, this may lead to more “meaningful negotiations.”
As major cities like Kyiv continue to be shelled by Moscow, Russia’s brutal military invasion of Ukraine is unlikely to slow. Currently, the war has created an estimated 3.5 million refugees, and killed thousands of civilians.