Nowhere in Ukraine has Russia’s invasion gone to plan, but a combination of geography, better troops, shorter supply lines and weaker opposition means Moscow’s campaign has progressed enough in the south to show what Russian President Vladimir Putin at least intended.

Early capture of the cities of Melitopol, Berdyansk and Kherson allowed Russian forces to start carrying out what looks like a template for the war’s stated goals — repeated on Wednesday by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov — of the “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine.

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