The Russians have secured their objective. An open question is whether they continue westward to capture Odessa. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Russia’s military has declared that its desired strategic “land bridge” connecting Russian national territory with the Donbas and Crimea is complete, according to statements given to CNN senior national security correspondent Alex Marquardt. The Tuesday Russian military statement said that “roads and rail lines between western Russia and Crimea are operational,” which marks that “the land bridge is complete.”
“Conditions have been created for the resumption of full-fledged traffic between Russia, Donbas, Ukraine and Crimea on six railway sections,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. “Automobile communication has been opened from the territory of Russia along the mainland to Crimea.” Thus it appears the Kremlin is touting its own ‘mission accomplished’ moment, at least pertaining to the eastern and southern theaters of the war.
Starting in April, the defense ministry announced its “phase 2” plan for the invasion while pulling back in the north, and abandoning the fight outside the capital of Kiev and other cities deep in Ukrainian territory. It stated as its prime objective “control over southern Ukraine and Donbas” – where fighting has been heavily concentrated over the past two months.