Russia still has its eye on Kyiv, despite Ukraine’s stiff resistance

Emergency workers during construction of debris from a missile attack in the Lobanovsky district on February 26, 2022, in Kiev, Ukraine.

Laurent Van Der Stockt | Getty Images News | beautiful pictures

According to a Pentagon assessment shared with CNBC, the Kremlin still wants its invading army to capture Kyiv, even as Russian forces continue to encounter stiff Ukrainian resistance.

“We have every indication that they still want to take Kyiv, that they are moving on the ground and trying to get closer,” said a senior defense official, who asked to remain anonymous, to share new details from the assessment. price.

The person said Russian advances into the Ukrainian capital had slowed, but forces were about 25 kilometers (16 miles) outside the city. The official warned that distances are estimates only and ground movements are changing.

They are throwing a lot at the problem.

US Defense official, on Russian firepower used so far

“We expect that they will want to keep moving forward and try to encircle the city [Kyiv] in the coming days,” the official said. They’re not there yet, that hasn’t happened yet, but that seems like what they want to do. “

Most recent assessment published by the UK Department of Defense says Ukraine still controls not only Kyiv but also Kharkiv and Chernihiv, both of which have seen brutal fighting for days.

“Despite continued efforts to suppress details of the conflict from the Russian people, the Russian Armed Forces have been forced to admit casualties for the first time,” the UK ministry said.

In Monday, Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that the Russian invasion forces had so far lost 4,500 personnel, nearly 200 tanks and nearly 60 aircraft, half of which were helicopters.

CNBC could not independently confirm Ukraine’s claims.

Ukrainian Air Force, contact information

The US defense official explained that the Russians began targeting Ukraine’s missile defense capabilities very early on, but “by Thursday, Ukraine had significant air and missile defense capabilities. “

The official said Ukraine’s command and control remained intact. In addition to intermittent power outages, communications are still available.

Command and control refers to Ukraine’s ability to centrally coordinate its forces across the country, primarily through electronic means.

Missile attack, logistics problem

So far, Russia has launched more than 380 missiles, a US defense official said. When under increased pressure over Russian firepower, the official said that “they’re throwing a lot of stuff at the problem.”

“They are launching cruise missiles, medium-range, short-range,” the official added. “They’re using artillery, they’re using missiles, manned planes, they have infantry there.”

US and British officials went on to say that Russian units were dealing with supply disruptions and logistical failures.

The US official said the Pentagon has seen no indication that Belarusian troops are operating in Ukraine, despite external reports to the contrary. Belarus is closely associated with Russia.

“Our best information is that the forces inside Ukraine are all Russian,” the official said.

Nearly 75 percent of the Russian forces staged along the border with Ukraine before the invasion have now flooded into the country, the US defense official said.

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