Russia steps up missile strikes on Kyiv as ground forces falter: Pentagon Day 20 update


Russians approaching Kyiv from the northwest have not moved for almost a week.

The Pentagon has provided daily updates on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Ukraine’s resistance efforts.

Here are the highlights of what a senior US defense official told reporters on Day 20 Tuesday:

Russians step up missile strikes on Kyiv as ground forces falter

According to the Pentagon, Russian forces have gained little ground in Ukraine in recent days. The intruders closest to Kyiv have been held up about 9 to 12 miles northwest of the city center for almost a week. Other troops advancing on the capital from the northeast are still 12 to 19 miles away, where they have been for at least four days.

But while its ground attacks on Kyiv have largely ceased, Russia has stepped up its bombardment of the city, hitting residential areas with long-range missiles more frequently.

The pattern is similar across the country, including in the port city of Mariupol, which is being isolated by Russian forces and suffering heavy bombardment.

According to the official, Russia has fired more than 950 missiles against Ukraine since the invasion began. This is up from an estimated 900 on Monday.

A war with many fronts

According to the senior US defense official, Russian troops remain on the outskirts of Kharkiv, where they continue to face strong Ukrainian resistance.

Last week, the official said Russian forces were “just outside the city” of Mykolayiv. In Monday’s update, the official said the US has seen no new movement toward or past the city.

Pentagon officials have speculated that Russian troops may be planning to take Mykolayiv to position themselves for a ground attack on the key port city of Odessa while other troops launch an amphibious assault from the Black Sea.

While the US has observed several Russian landing craft operating in the northern Black Sea, there has been no sign of an imminent amphibious movement towards Odessa, the official said.

Military power largely intact

Despite 20 days of heavy fighting and casualties on the Russian and Ukrainian sides, both countries still have around 90 percent of their combat capability intact, according to the official. For Russia, only the forces used by Russian President Vladimir Putin for the invasion count.

“We have seen no movement from Russian forces stationed elsewhere in Russia, which are stationed in the West to reinforce the [battalion tactical groups] the Russians already have in Ukraine,” the official said. “And we’ve seen no evidence of Russian efforts to pour in additional supplies from Russia or elsewhere, but we have reason to believe the Russians are considering their supply and crewing options.”

There is also currently no evidence that Belarus is preparing to send its own troops to join the invasion, the official added.

US arms to Ukraine

Arms from the United States and other nations continue to flow into Ukraine, including over the past 24 hours, the official said.


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