Russian President Vladimir Putin reacts during the Strong Ideas For The New Times Forum, on February 20, 2024 in Moscow, Russia.Contributor/Getty ImagesWestern observers think Putin still believes he can win in Ukraine, The Guardian reported.The outlet cited unnamed officials who assessed that Putin has been emboldened by US aid drying up.Russia previously stopped mentioning its initial war objectives as it struggled in Ukraine.Russian leader Vladimir Putin is still optimistic about defeating Ukraine as the war drags into its third year, The Guardian reported on Wednesday, citing Western officials.The outlet did not say how many officials provided this assessment, nor did it name them.The officials said Putin continues to hold "maximalist goals of subjugating Ukraine," per The Guardian.Still, it appears the Kremlin hasn't laid out much of a strategy for doing so, the outlet reported."We do not believe Russia has a meaningful plan beyond continuing to fight in the expectation that Russian manpower and equipment numbers will eventually tell," the officials said.They said Putin has likely been emboldened by Russia's taking of the town of Avdiivka on Saturday, the Kremlin's most notable victory since capturing Bakhmut in May.On Tuesday, the Russian leader said that the Kremlin's forces should continue to push into Ukraine in the face of Kyiv's withdrawal from Avdiivka, known as the "gateway" to Donetsk."As for the overall situation in Avdiivka, this is an absolute success, I congratulate you.

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