Russian forces trying to encircle Kyiv Russians also besiege two strategic Ukrainian seaports
NEW DELHI :
RUSSIAN forces were on Thursday trying to encircle Kyiv amid intense fighting currently underway within 20-40 km of the Ukrainian capital, a non-profit think tank said. In a statement to the local Ukrainska Pravda newspaper, the Kyiv-based Centre for Defence Strategies said: “The enemy is trying to encircle the capital with a massive gathering of troops (close to 30 tactical battalions). The biggest threat comes from the north and north west of Kyiv (Ivankiv, Vorzel, Bucha, Irpin Hostomil).” The statement further said that intense fighting continues within 20-40 km of Kyiv, “where the enemy is losing equipment and personnel”. The think tank said it is expected that within a short time the Russian forces will attempt to enter Kyiv with the help of the air force and missile attacks. Meanwhile in the west of Kyiv, Ukrainian Armed Forces have freed the town of Makariv and established defensive positions, Ukrainska Pravda reported. In addition to Kyiv, priority targets for the Russians include large cities in Ukraine’s south and Kharkiv.
Earlier in the day, the Ukrainian Defence Ministry on Thursday announced that Russian ships and rocket boats approached the country’s third largest city of Odessa located on the northwestern shore of the Black Sea. “In the waters of the Black Sea, we are observing a landing detachment of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, consisting of four large landing ships accompanied by three rocket boats, advancing towards Odessa,” the Ministry said. While on Wednesday night passed peacefully for several regions of Ukraine, Russia on Thursday continued to attack Kharkiv, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. The Mayor of Kherson city claimed early Thursday morning that Russian forces have seized the city. Ukrainian troops have continued to defend Chernihiv and Nizhyn, but the situation in the Vyshhorod area just outside of Kyiv is tense.
The night in the Donetsk region was difficult, but Mariupol held. Igor Kolykhaiev, the city’s Mayor, said in an update that ‘armed visitors’ had stormed a council meeting and imposed new rules including a strict curfew and urged citizens to follow them. Russians besiege two strategic Ukrainian seaports: RUSSIAN forces laid siege to two strategic Ukrainian seaports on Wednesday and pressed their bombardment of the country’s second-biggest city, while the huge armoured column threatening Kyiv appeared stalled outside the capital. Moscow’s isolation deepened, meanwhile, when most of the world lined up against it at the United Nations to demand it withdraw from Ukraine. And the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court opened an investigation into possible war crimes. Russia reported its military casualties for the first time since the invasion began last week, saying nearly 500 of its troops have been killed and almost 1,600 wounded.
Ukraine did not disclose its own military losses but said more than 2,000 civilians have died, a claim that could not be independently verified. With fighting going on on multiple fronts across the country, Britain’s Defence Ministry said Mariupol, a large city on the Azov Sea, was encircled by Russian forces, while the status of another vital port, Kherson, a Black Sea shipbuilding city of 280,000, remained unclear. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces claimed to have taken complete control of Kherson, which would make it the biggest city to fall yet in the invasion. Mayor of Kherson, Igor Kolykhaev, said Russian soldiers were in the city and came to the city administration building. He said he asked them not to shoot civilians and to allow crews to gather up the bodies from the streets. “I simply asked them not to shoot at people,” he said in a statement. “We don’t have any Ukrainian forces in the city, only civilians and people here who want to LIVE.”
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said the attacks there had been relentless. “We cannot even take the wounded from the streets, from houses and apartments today, since the shelling does not stop,” he was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying. Moscow has chosen to lay siege to multiple cities there, viewing the region as strategically vital to the success of the invasion as a whole. Not only would controlling the coast sever the rest of Ukraine from the sea, it would also create a direct connection between Russian-annexed Crimea and the Russian-speaking Donbas region, BBC reported. Kherson has a population of 2,80,000 and is so far the largest city to fall to Russian forces. It sits on the banks of the Dnieper River, giving those in control access to critical canals supplying water to Crimea. Another large port is Mariupol with a population of 4,30,000, which is being shelled and encircled. If successfully seized, Russia will have established a direct link between eastern Ukraine and Crimea, both of which are already Russian-controlled, BBC reported.
TOP RUSSIAN GENERAL KILLED IN UKRAINE: Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky, the Commanding General of the Russian 7th Airborne Division, was killed in fighting in Ukraine earlier this week. Sukhovetsky, who was 47, began his military service as a platoon commander after graduating from a military academy and steadily rose through the ranks to take a series of leadership positions.