Ukraine War: Russia prepares for final attack on Kyiv

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Russian forces are approaching Kyiv amid signs that preparations are underway for a final attack on the capital.

The bulk of the Kremlin’s troops are now within 15 miles of the city after more than two weeks of slow progress.

Ukraine is preparing to defend the city after upsetting Western expectations by denying Vladimir Putin a quick victory.

From the start of the invasion, it was clear that a full-scale attack on Kyiv was at the heart of Russia’s plans, although the Kremlin has repeatedly insisted it was only trying to support the breakaway republic in the east of the country.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said fighting had continued north-west of Kyiv, with the bulk of Russian ground forces now about 15 miles from the center of the city.

According to a daily intelligence update, elements of the large Russian military column north of Kyiv have disintegrated.

It said this will likely aid a Russian attempt to encircle the capital and could also be an attempt by Russia to reduce its vulnerability to Ukrainian counterattacks.

In the village of Kvitneve, Kyiv region, Ukraine, a warehouse storing frozen products is seen ablaze after being shelled in this handout image released on March 12, 2022 as Russia's assault on Ukraine continues. Press Service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/ Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

A warehouse storing frozen products burns in the village of Kvitneve, Kyiv (Image: State Emergency Service of Ukraine)

Kyiv, UKRAINE - MARCH 10: Civilians build precautionary barricades made of tires covered with sandbags on March 10, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 10, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo by Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Soldiers and civilians have been preparing to fight the invading forces for several days (Image: Andalou)

There were reports of artillery raids in the northwestern outskirts of the city, which was the scene of heavy fighting throughout the war.

In the south of the city, in the town of Vaslkyiv, two columns of smoke – one black and one white – rose after an attack on an ammunition depot.

New commercial satellite imagery appeared to capture artillery fire on residential areas that stood between the Russians and the capital.

Maxar Technologies’ images showed muzzle flashes and smoke from large guns, as well as impact craters and burning houses in the city of Moschun, 20 miles from Kyiv, the company said.

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This agrees with the assessment of the Institute of the Study of War, which said: “Russian ground forces attempting to encircle and capture Kyiv began another lull on March 11, after failed attacks on March 8-10 to capture combat units to supply and convert. ‘

Former NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller told the BBC she was “skeptical” that Russian forces “will have a lot of success” attacking Kyiv directly.


Shelling around the capital has been ongoing since yesterday and all night (Picture: Getty)

Speaking to the Today programme, she said: “I wonder if they are able to regroup at this point because their logistics are in such bad shape that they don’t really have the fuel stocks they need need Kyiv for a push.”

A long convoy of vehicles sent to circle the city has been in disarray for several days, plagued by logistical problems and vulnerable to Ukrainian ambushes and drone strikes.

Three Russian generals are among the much heavier than expected casualties inflicted on the invading army and Mr Putin is reportedly furious at the progress of his campaign.

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Up to eight generals have reportedly been sacked in just over a fortnight as the Kremlin tries to regain control of its ailing campaign.

This week, for the first time, Mr Putin publicly accepted that conscripts – many of them teenagers – were being sent to Ukraine to fight and claimed ignorance.

With Ukraine’s massive invading force few and far between, he has urged Syrian fighters, bleeding in urban combat from their own civil war, to travel to the continent to fight.

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Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the country has suffered widespread damage and loss of life in a major bombing campaign.

Over two million Ukrainian refugees have fled as cities face shortages of food, water, heat and medicines – and the British public is to be urged to open their homes to Ukrainian refugees.

Countries have retaliated by imposing sanctions on Russia and oligarchs like Roman Abramovich, while big companies like Disney, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola have shut down operations in the country.

Despite these economic blows, however, Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown no signs of calling off the attack anytime soon as a convoy approaches the capital, Kyiv.

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Justin Scacco

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