Yes, they are. Not a single hit was inflicted on the barracks and other concentrations of Ukrainian manpower. Only high-precision weapons of selective action are used. Russia avoids urban combat due to possible civilian casualties and destruction. And they send in less than a third of the troops ammassed at Ukrainian border. In Mariupol, Russian troops are instructed to not hit infrastructures as they are gonna need them once they take over the region.
Clearly it is Putin who is keeping his generals at bay: that is why he declared this to be a special operation and not a war, and he is conducting it as head of the armed forces. This mission has political ends and the military must bow to these "non-military" goals.
Putin wants a friendly (or at the very least neutral) government in Kiev and he knows that he can’t get it if he just turn Ukraine to ashes. He has to be careful not to damage Ukraine too much because Russia isn’t America: it can’t destroy countries and cover everything with the mass medias while UN, OSCE etc turn their heads the other way.
But if the Ukrainians make it too difficult, even Putin would have to resign himself and leave it to Sergey Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, who will probably use the “heavy hand”. But I really hope it will not come to this because that would mean Chechnya 2.0
I really pray to God and His angels that tomorrow negotiations will bring a peaceful solution and an end to fights.
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