Russian strategy a mystery
Kyiv blocks the advance of Russian troops
3/13/2022 3:32 PM
The Russian army has been increasing attacks on the Ukrainian capital for several days. So far, the Ukrainians have managed to stop the enemy from advancing. Soldiers in Kyiv report destroyed vehicles on the Russian side. The tactics of the Russians are not clear to them.
With constant artillery fire, a contingent of Ukrainian troops occupied a position northeast of Kyiv. Near the village of Skybin, the men guard the highway that runs northeast from Brovry to the Ukrainian capital. So far they have been successful in stopping Russian tanks from advancing into Kyiv.
“The morale of the soldiers today is very good,” says a soldier named Topas, who is holding a Kalashnikov and radioing through a headset. “Two days ago we pushed the Russian tanks back a few hundred meters,” he proudly reports in a pause between the two exchanges of fire.
Battle video captured by a Ukrainian military drone shows a column of about 20 Russian vehicles, including several tanks, moving south on the highway. Then suddenly rockets and grenades are fired at the convoy. The front tank is hit first, then another rear. The Russian convoy turns around and leaves the village. “We fired at them with tanks and rocket launchers,” Topas said. “Then they hid in the surrounding villages.”
Ukraine: Five injured, one in mortal danger
According to several Ukrainian soldiers, at least two Russian vehicles were destroyed and a Russian tank commander was killed. On the Ukrainian side, “we had five wounded, one of whom is in mortal danger,” reports soldier Ilya Beresenko.
Since the invasion on 24 February, Russian forces have occupied several strategically important locations in Ukraine, especially on the southern coast and in the east and north of the country. The Russians are mainly moving from the north-west and northeast on the capital Kyiv. But the advance is stalled. While Russia has recently stepped up its airstrikes, military experts estimate that the ground forces around Kyiv have barely moved over the past few days.
A few days earlier, to the east of Kyiv, Russian tanks advanced within a few kilometers of the suburb of Brovary. Local residents counted more than 70 military vehicles, including about 40 tanks and about 300 soldiers. This column, or at least a part of it, then headed towards Brovry and Kyiv – and on Thursday was stopped by troops at Skrybin.
“You must be mad or misinformed”
Since then, the men have been considering the Russian strategy. They could not enter Kyiv with a few dozen tanks, says Beresenko, 27. “I don’t know why they’re doing this. They must be crazy or misinformed. Or they want to confuse us.” Ukrainian soldiers believe that the Russian army underestimated itself and underestimated its opponent. “They have to camp in villages at night, when the temperature is almost minus 10 degrees,” says Beresenko of Russian soldiers. “They don’t have food and have to loot homes.”
Despite all this, the Russians have gone far enough to spark fears of a complete siege of Kyiv. Only the roads to the south are still open. According to Ukraine’s presidential office, the capital is in a “siege state”.
Above all, the soldiers in Skybin fear Russian air strikes, which cause catastrophic damage. But they “do not have enough men or equipment to take over the country,” Beresenko is convinced. Russian soldiers are “not too many” and “far from home”. Eventually they will “give up the exhaustion”.
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