Anxious wait in Kiev continues as Russia’s progress appears to have stalled
Russia’s advance towards Kiev, ukraine’s capital, has stalled despite the constant hit of residential areas, as Russia tries to regroup and resupply its forces in northwest and east Ukraine.
The recent cessation of the Russian offensive on the city, which had a population of about 3 million before the war, changed the estimate of the INSTITUTE for the Study of War, a US-based think tank, that ‘Kiev could be besieged within 24 to 96 hours’.
Russian forces were able to launch local attacks last Monday and Tuesday involving only a few hundred soldiers, The Guardian reported.
This led observers to think that Russian forces ‘probably will not be able to complete the siege of Kiev or continue their mobile offensive operations in northeastern Ukraine’ in the near future.
Experts attributed the inability of Russian forces to advance to the ‘enthusiastic resistance’ of Ukrainian forces, which prevented The Russians from making their way to the suburbs outside the city on both sides of the capital.
Images from Kiev showed volunteer soldiers defending the city centre, including soldiers as well as former journalists, lawyers and prosecutors.
Penetrating materials such as nails are also being thrown on the roads in an attempt to prevent russian armored vehicles from advancing rapidly and create opportunities for ambush.
The failure of Russian forces to cross the River Ipin, which runs along the western edge of the city, also slowed the advance. This caused Russian forces to remain 20 kilometers or more from the city center.
This may provide some respit for Ukrainian forces, but a critical period is on the way if the war continues.
Mathieu Boulegue, a research fellow at the think tank Chatham House, stressed the importance of preventing the Kiev war, saying at an event, “Because Russia has no other way to take over the country. Kiev is its most important strategic goal.”
Boulegue noted that Russia has so far tried to avoid urban warfare in the conflict, adding that “as Russian forces get closer to a city, they attack indiscriminately to break the resistance of the inhabitants first.”
Underlining that Kiev is the ‘most important thing’ for both sides of the war, Boulegue said, “There is also uncertainty about what will happen if Russia does not get close to the city or kiev residents defend their cities with great resistance. This could lead to the Kremlin’s growing frustration and risk-taking.”
Western leaders have repeatedly expressed concern about Russia’s use of chemical weapons in Ukraine or its attack on targets in the city center with cruise missiles.
Even if these fears do not materialize, Russia can launch cruise missiles at targets in the city center, as it did in Kharkov, or attack air-to-ground, as it did at the Yavoriv military base over the weekend.
Russia is not moving to the capital as it wants to right now. But the uneasy wait in Kiev continues.