TALLINN - Mikk Marran, director general of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service, said on Tuesday that the lightning war of Russian forces in Ukraine failed as a result of large-scale miscalculations, but the end of the war in not in sight and hostilities are set to continue for a long time.
According to Marran, it is clear that Putin was unable to pull off a lightning war and that a reorganization is under way to put at least some sort of victory on the table by May 9.
"The lightning war on Kiev failed because of massive miscalculations," he said, noting that the Russian side miscalculated Ukraine's resilience, as well as Western aid to Ukraine and the impact of sanctions on the aggressor.
"We can see that the victory desired for May 9 could be, in Russia's view, a consolidation of its power in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, a land connection with Crimea, and also the occupation of Mariupol. At the same time, it must be taken into account that May 9 will definitely not mark the end of the conflict," the head of Estonia's Foreign Intelligence Service said.
As for the peace negotiations, the positions of Ukraine are clear: a truce and the withdrawal of Russian troops to the positions before Feb. 24. Ukraine also wants security guarantees from third parties, Marran said.
Demands of the Russian side, such as the recognition of Crimea as part of Russia, recognition of the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics, demilitarization of Ukraine, Russian units remaining on Ukrainian soil after the ceasefire, and so on, are unacceptable to Ukraine, he said.
"It is clear that Ukraine cannot meet these demands," Marran said, adding that since Ukraine has fought bravely, there is also no reason to make concessions to Russia.
According to Marran, the West has no reason to put pressure on Ukraine, but must support Ukraine by providing all kinds of assistance and put pressure namely on the Russian side.
Marran said it is clear that regardless of the progress of the negotiations, the Russian head of state, Vladimir Putin, will continue wreaking destruction in Ukraine because he believes that Ukraine is not a state and Ukrainians are not a nation.
"The Kremlin is eyeing the prospect that, if it does not succeed in taking Kiev at the moment, it needs to impose such terms of peace on the Ukrainian head of state that he will not be able to survive politically," Marran said.
Marran noted that the intensity of the hostilities has gone up and down in various weeks of late and currently there is a period of lower intensity in military action. However, there is reason to believe that the intensity of the war will increase again from mid-April.
"The war will continue for a long time still," Marran added.