In an apparent change of strategy, Russian troops stopped attacking Kiev:On March 27, 2022 by editor
The Pentagon is providing daily updates on Ukraine’s efforts to counter and invade Russia.
Here are the highlights of what a senior U.S. defense official told reporters on Friday 30 days:
Apparently, the Russian invasion of Kiev has stopped, the troops are now on the defensive.
The official described how Russian forces had stopped their offensive in the vicinity of the capital, Kiev, and moved to a defensive position, as they appeared to be prioritizing offensive operations in the eastern part of the country.
“It appears that the Russians are not conducting ground offenses or ground attacks on Kiev at this time,” the official said. They are digging. They are building a defensive position. “However, officials said that the use of long-range weapons continued to bomb the city.
“They show no signs of wanting to move from the ground to Kiev,” the official said. “And that’s in line with our assessment a few days ago that they’re going to prioritize the eastern part of the country over ground crime. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing.”
Earlier on Friday, a top Russian general told reporters that Russia’s initial military operation was over and that those operations would now focus on “the most important thing, the complete release of Donbass.”
“They’ve stopped trying to move forward and what they’re starting to do is try to protect what they have,” said a senior U.S. defense official. “We see Ukrainians now committing crimes against them in the vicinity of Kiev, including in the West.” The official described heavy fighting in the northwestern cities of Bucha and Irpin in Kiev, where he said the Ukrainians were “trying hard to oust the Russians”.
Russia’s military is now prioritizing operations in Donbass, eastern Ukraine
“They are putting their priorities and their efforts ahead of Ukraine and there is still a lot of fighting going on there,” the official said. “We think they are not only trying to secure some kind of more significant gain there as a possible negotiating strategy at the table, but also to cut off Ukrainian forces in the eastern part of the country.”
“They are more focused on Donbass,” the official said, describing the eastern part of the country where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting the Ukrainian army for the past eight years.
“The defensive crutch they are taking now in Kiev, we think, is consistent with their desire to be more offensive now and more aggressive in the East and Donbass.” And that includes increased airstrikes in the region, including the port city of Mariupol, which officials continue to see as “terrible fighting.”
Russian forces have lost complete control of the strategic southern city of Kherson
In a significant push, Russian forces lost control of the strategic southern city of Kherson, according to the official. If the Ukrainians recapture the city, it will mark the first time that Russian troops have been driven out of a large Russian-occupied city.
“It does not appear to be as strong in Russian control as it once was,” the official said. “The Ukrainians are trying to take Kherson, but we will argue that Kherson is actually a rival territory again.”
If Ukrainian forces retake the port city, it will be “a significant advance, there is no question about it in the southern part of the war,” the official said. If that happened, Russian troops would be “sandwiched” between Mykolive and Kherson’s Ukrainian forces in the west, officials said.
“It would throw them in the middle and make it very, very difficult for them to make any kind of ground movement on Odessa. If in fact, it was their plan,” the official said.
Russian reinforcements have moved from Georgia to Ukraine
“We saw our first indication that they were trying to send some reinforcements from Georgia,” the official said. “We have seen the movement of some troops from Georgia.
In recent days, U.S. officials have said that Russia appears to be seeking reinforcements for its military operations in Ukraine, but interestingly from outside Russia.
“We don’t have the exact number,” the official said. “I can’t tell you whether it’s a full BTG (Battalion Strategic Group) or how many troops.”
Russian troops have been stationed in isolated Russian territory in Georgia since 2008.
Russian missile failure rate ranges from 20% to 60%
A senior U.S. defense official did not oppose a press report that Russian missiles were failing to launch between 20% and 60% of the time.
“It’s difficult for us to fully evaluate it in terms of numbers, but we’ve seen some failures,” the official said.
“The range I’ve seen in the press ranges from 20 to 60%. I won’t back down on that assessment,” the official said.
“But again, this is a range, and it’s almost day to day, but we’ve seen over and over again … when our assessment is that they’ve had a significant amount of failure on their missiles,” the official added.
Although Ukraine’s airspace remains competitive, officials say Russian planes are now flying about 300 times a day and launching large missiles that are reducing their supply.
“They still have more than 50%, but this is the cruise missile, especially the one they are launching the least,” the official said.
Russia has fired more than 1,250 missiles at Ukraine since the war began.