Ukrainian and Russian troops battle for control of Kyiv. WASHINGTON — Russian and Ukrainian forces continued their fierce battle for control of Kyiv on Saturday, with explosions and gunfire.
Ukrainian and Russian troops battle for control of Kyiv
Ukrainian officials are urging their nationals to help Kyiv resist an invasion by Russian troops. An army base in Kyiv was attacked, but the Ukrainian army said the Russian attack was repelled.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expects a more intense Russian attack on Kyiv on Saturday. “Kyiv needs special attention,” Zelensky said Saturday. “We cannot lose the capital.”
U.S. and Western officials said Friday (February 25) that Russian troops, which were advancing toward Kyiv and other key cities as part of a plan to “behead” the Ukrainian government, appear to have lost some momentum. Both the West and Moscow have stepped up information operations as the battle on the ground has developed.
On Friday, Russian troops continued to slowly penetrate Ukraine, with explosions and gunshots continuing to be heard in parts of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, as well as near Kharkiv in the north and Kherzak in the south.
Since the invasion began, Russia has fired more than 200 ballistic missiles and cruise missiles in an offensive, mostly targeting Ukrainian forces, said a senior U.S. defense official who requested anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.
But the official said intelligence showed that the Russian military’s operations did not go as smoothly as Russian commanders had hoped.
“The Russian side lost a little momentum,” the official said. “They didn’t push as far as we believed they expected them to push.”
In particular, the Russian offensive against Kyiv appears to have stalled.
“They encountered more resistance than they expected,” the U.S. official said. The official added that while Russia has a numerical superiority and is trying to eliminate Ukraine’s air defenses, air superiority has not been established.
The official added that Ukraine’s accusation control system is “intact.”
In Kyiv, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky tried to inspire national unity in the war. He dismissed rumors that he had fled Kyiv, insisting that he and other government officials “are here, defending our independence, our country.”
Russia’s claims of victory
Russian officials made their own claims on Friday. The Russian side said that the Russian army has made solid progress. According to them, the Russian army is to eliminate the terrorist threat.
Russian Major General Igor Konashenkov said in a social media post that the Russian army destroyed more than 200 Ukrainian military installations and dozens of air defence systems, radar stations, and eliminated a small number of Ukrainian fighter planes, helicopters and military vehicles .
Russian forces also said Friday that they had taken control of Gostomely, a strategic airport northwest of Kyiv. Russia’s claims could not be confirmed for the time being, but Ukrainian authorities reported heavy fighting there.
Situation on the ground in
Ukraine Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba condemned what he described as a “terrible rocket attack” on the city, which hit some residential areas.
On the other hand, Kyiv mayor and former world weight boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko said that Kyiv had entered a defensive phase and warned that Russian saboteurs were active in the city.
Western officials, while praising the Ukrainian army, cautioned that the situation on the ground was changing rapidly. They point out that things could change soon, especially considering that about two-thirds of the Russian army’s 190,000-strong force assembled near the Ukrainian border remains out of combat.
They also warned that Russia was trying to obscure the situation on the ground with disinformation in an attempt to intimidate the Ukrainian army into submission.
“Our information shows that Russia is launching a disinformation campaign by publishing false news about the mass surrender of Ukrainian forces,” a U.S. official said Friday. ”
Our information also shows that Russia plans to Threatened to kill the families of Ukrainian soldiers who refused to surrender.”
The UN refugee agency warned Friday that the two-day Russian offensive has forced more than 50,000 people from their homes. U.S. officials said many people were trying to cross the border into Poland and estimated that tens of thousands of Ukrainians were on their way to flee.
NATO on Friday vowed to continue supporting the Ukrainian government and military, and warned that it had taken unprecedented action to prevent Russia from aggression against NATO members.
“We are deploying parts of the NATO response force by land, sea and air to further strengthen our posture,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels after a video conference of NATO alliance heads. , and respond promptly to any unforeseen events.”
“There must be no room for miscalculation and misinterpretation,” he said of NATO’s first activation of the 40,000-strong force. “We will do everything we can to protect and defend every inch of territory of every ally and NATO.”
After meeting with foreign ministry officials in the separatist-held Donetsk and Luhansk regions on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters that once the Ukrainian army “stops resistance and lays down its weapons,” Russia “ready to talk at any time”.
The Ukrainian presidency’s office said earlier that it was willing to open negotiations with Russia to agree to “neutrality”, but in return Ukraine wanted security guarantees. “We want to stop this war,” said one presidential adviser. In response to claims made by Ukraine, the Kremlin said Friday that Russia was ready to send a delegation to Belarus to meet with Ukrainian officials.
At the United Nations, Security Council members voted on a resolution Friday. The resolution condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and reaffirmed Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. The resolution will also require Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine immediately, completely and unconditionally.
The resolution failed to pass due to Russia’s veto. The resolution was supported by 11 countries. China, India and the United Arab Emirates abstained.