Russia’s decision to cut back its military operations outside of Ukraine’s capital city is a major shift in Russia’s strategy, U.S. intelligence officials said.

Catch up quick: Russia said Tuesday that it will look to “dramatically reduce” attacks around Kyiv and Chernihiv in Ukraine as peace talks continue between the two warring nations, as I reported for the Deseret News.

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Driving the news: US intelligence officials told CNN that the move by Russia represents a “major” shift in strategy.

  • Officials said the U.S. assumes “Russia will cover their retreat with air and artillery bombardment of the capital,” per CNN.
  • “Russia could always reverse again if the battle conditions allow,” according to CNN.

Why it matters: U.S. officials are worried that European officials won’t keep economic sanctions on Russia if Ukraine accepts a peace treaty.

  • There’s also worry that Russian President Vladimir Putin may try to split Ukraine into two countries.

The bigger picture: Russia may want Ukraine to split into two countries when the war is over, per Reuters.

  • Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukrainian military intelligence, said Sunday that Russia wants to make Ukraine into two separate nations in “an attempt to create North and South Korea in Ukraine.
  • “The occupiers will try to pull the occupied territories into a single quasi-state structure and pit it against independent Ukraine,” Budanov said in a statement, per Reuters.