“The chances, I think, of a rapid Russian success have gone,” said Chris Tuck, a land warfare expert at King’s College, London. “The Russian capacity for offensive operations is going to bleed away. ... I simply don’t think that we’re likely to see any major Russian breakthroughs.” The death toll, already many thousands, continues to mount.

Europe pushed to toughen its response Monday to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Sweden joining Finland in deciding to seek NATO membership and European Union officials working to rescue proposed sanctions against Russian oil, AP reports.

On the ground, Ukrainian troops resisted attempted Russian advances and even rolled back the front lines in places. Over the past few days, Moscow’s forces pulled back from around the northeastern city of Kharkiv after bombarding it for weeks.

Also Monday, a glimmer of hope emerged for wounded Ukrainian troops trapped in the bombed remains of a giant steel plant, the last stronghold of resistance in the port city of Mariupol. The Russian Defense Ministry announced an agreement for the wounded to leave the steelworks for treatment in a town held by pro-Moscow separatists.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Ukrainian side, and there was no word on whether the wounded would be considered prisoners of war. Nor was it clear how many fighters might be evacuated.

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