Putin humiliated as Russian army sees no major gains as war drifts towards stalemate

Ukraine: Russian military 'engaged in a blame game' says Steele

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However, the official argued that NATO believes that momentum has shifted slightly towards Ukraine recently. The official, who has knowledge of the intelligence, stated Russian President Vladimir Putin’s army will be “at a standstill for a while”.

They told CNN that NATO was currently debating if it was possible for Kyiv to invade Crimea and the Donbas.

Crimea voted to join the Russian Federation in a controversial referendum following the Maidan revolution in 2014.

Two areas in the Donbas populated mainly by Russian speakers formed pro-Russian enclaves the Donetsk(DPR) and Lugansk(LPR) People’s Republics.

Ukraine considers both territories “temporarily occupied” and has expressed a desire to reclaim them.

This has led to an ongoing conflict between Kyiv and the DPR/ LPR from 2014 until the Russian invasion in February.

The NATO official said that they thought Kyiv could take control of the territories but not immediately.

They said: “I think they could [retake Crimea and the Donbas], yes.

“Not now, not soon, but if they can keep up the fight I think so. 

“I do question if they actually should fight to get their territory back.”

It comes as a 21 year old Russian soldier has pleaded guilty in the first war crimes trial since the start of the war.

Vadim Shishimarin admitted shooting a man a few days after the war started in February and faces life in jail.

According to prosecutors, Mr Shishimarin was commanding a unit in a tank division when his convoy came under attack. 

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Along with four other soldiers, he travelled in a stolen car as they travelled near Chupakhivka before encountering a 62 year old civilian on a bicycle.

Prosecutors argue Mr Shishimarin was ordered to shoot Oleksandr Shelipov.

This was something he did by shooting Mr Shelipov in the head with a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

The Kremlin said earlier that it had not been informed about the case.

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