kyiv turns to trench warfare as Russians encircle capital: Putin’s 40-mile convoy of tanks and artillery moves into firing positions ahead of an all-out assault in the Ukrainian capital as residents take the weapons and build barricades for bloody street fights
- Ukrainian forces turn to trench warfare to fight Russian encirclement around kyiv, Ukraine
- Soldiers and civilians dig on outskirts of kyiv as Russians close in ahead of another push
- Some Russian units are now only 15 km from the Ukrainian capital as they prepare for the new offensive
Russian forces heading towards kyiv yesterday moved to strategic firing positions ahead of an all-out assault.
A waiting 40-mile convoy of tanks, troops and artillery redeployed into nearby forests and towns in an attempt to encircle the capital.
Satellite images showed suspected howitzers and rocket launchers being readied, prompting remaining Kyiv residents to take up arms and erect barricades. Mayor Vitali Klitschko warned Russia that the city was a fortress.
Civilians erect tire barricades topped with sandbags as a precaution amid Russian attacks on Kyiv
Ukrainian troops prepare to take up positions near kyiv ahead of the planned Russian assault on the city
ANGRY PUTIN’S SPY LEADERS UNDER HOME ARREST
TWO of Russia’s most experienced spies were reportedly placed under house arrest last night as punishment for the stalled invasion of Ukraine.
FSB spy chiefs, named in the reports as Sergey Beseda and Anatoly Bolukh, are said to have angered Vladimir Putin.
Beseda, head of the FSB’s foreign intelligence unit, apparently assured Putin that Ukrainian citizens would welcome a Russian invasion. Bolukh, as his deputy, was the head of Russia’s vast disinformation campaign that struggled in the face of social media.
The FSB, Russia’s equivalent of Britain’s MI6, has also said its agents in kyiv may capture Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but he remains a free and defiant man. Instead, Russian attacks on Ukraine united its people against the invaders while Mr. Zelensky became an inspirational warlord.
This week it was also reported that Russia had sacked eight generals from its army for failing to overwhelm the Ukrainians on the battlefield. Respected Russian journalist Andrei Soldatov said Putin had become furious with the FSB for their “terrible miscalculations”.
Beseda, head of the FSB’s foreign intelligence unit, apparently assured Putin that Ukrainian citizens would welcome a Russian invasion
Yesterday, volunteers were digging trenches in the outskirts in an attempt to stop Russian troops. Preparing for a bloody fight, others joined the soldiers in erecting makeshift barricades with old tires and sandbags.
Around half of the city’s 3.5 million people are thought to have fled, but Mr Klitschko and his brother Wladimir – both former heavyweight boxing champions – said many were returning to defend their country.
Some Russian units are now only nine miles from the city. It is feared they will try to repeat the barbaric tactics used on other cities, including Mariupol, which is surrounded – with those inside suffering from starvation and dehydration.
Russian forces even bombed a maternity ward there this week.
A convoy passing through Brovary, a northeast suburb of kyiv, was forced to retreat on Thursday after becoming stuck in city streets and being ambushed by Ukrainian troops with anti-tank missiles.
At least two vehicles, including a tank, were destroyed and a Russian commander believed to be Colonel Andrei Zakharov, an associate of Vladimir Putin, was killed. Despite the setback, Russian forces continued to advance yesterday with armored units seen in towns near Antonov Airport north of the city as well as in nearby forests.
The Defense Ministry warned that Russia was seeking to “reinitialize and reposition” its forces for “renewed offensive activity”. But officials noted that troops have made limited progress.
“The logistical problems that hampered the Russian advance persist, as does strong Ukrainian resistance,” a spokesman said. “Russia is [probably] seeking to reset and reposition its forces for renewed offensive activity in the days ahead. This will probably include operations against the capital kyiv.
Troops approach the capital from the northwest and east, engaging in firefights with Ukrainian soldiers at Kukhari – 90 km from kyiv – and Demydiv, 40 km away.
The convoy initially stalled on approach to Kyiv amid reports of fuel and food shortages as well as resistance from Ukrainian forces.
Speaking yesterday, Mayor Klitschko said his town had enough supplies for two weeks and had access to electricity, heat and gas.
Wladimir, who enlisted in the Ukrainian reserve army, said the citizens were ready to engage in battle. “There are many refugees who have gone west, but many are coming back,” he added.
“A lot of men and women…come back to defend the country. This is our home. We’re staying here. We’re not going anywhere.”
At least 564 civilians have died in Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24. Ukrainian human rights ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova said at least 78 children were among the dead.
A Ukrainian soldier hides from a helicopter airstrike amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine near Demydiv
Ukrainian army battles Russian forces in a village near kyiv as invading forces prepare for another assault on the city
Roadside trenches are prepared as a precaution amid Russian attacks in Kyiv
NOW THE KREMLIN IS RECRUITING A CRACK TEAM OF SYRIAN STREET FIGHTERS
Brandishing the ominous pro-invasion “Z” symbol and chanting Kremlin propaganda, it is the battle-hardened Syrian fighters that Russia wants to unleash on Ukraine.
The footage was released by the Russian military as the Kremlin yesterday claimed it had enlisted 16,000 mercenaries from the Middle East to join its struggling army. Syrian fighters are said to be urban warfare specialists and as such would be thrown into “house-to-house” fighting in cities.
Russia has fought alongside Syrians loyal to President Bashar Assad since 2015. Pro-Putin troops from the Central African Republic also pledged allegiance to the Kremlin yesterday.
Here are the battle-hardened Syrian fighters Russia wants to unleash on Ukraine