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Ukraine counter-attacks in Kyiv, 10,000 Russian troops besieged


Statements about the counterattacks of Ukraine in the area around Kyiv began to appear more than a week ago. As of now, Forbes has officially confirmed what they have observed, and that Russian forces near the Ukrainian capital may be in big trouble.

During the three-week period following the expansion of the war in Ukraine, the Russian Army steadily advanced about 50 miles from the Belarusian border to the outskirts of Kyiv. A separate thrust deployed southwest from Russia into northeastern Ukraine reached the city of Chernihiv, 80 miles north of Kyiv.

The Russian air strike on Hostomel airport near Kyiv, which began on the first day of the expansion and was carried out by Mi-8 attack helicopters carrying hundreds of paratroopers, ended in disaster. .

Initially, ground attacks by the 29th, 35th, and 36th armies west of Kyiv and the 2nd and 41st armies east of the Ukrainian capital were more successful. The Russians surrounded Chernihiv and established a very loose but closed blockade around Kyiv at a distance of several tens of miles.

However, that success seems to be fleeting. The Kremlin is said to have been planning a quick capture of Kyiv and expecting an immediate collapse of the Ukrainian government, all of which could be within two or three days. When that didn’t happen, flaws in the Russian Army’s plans became apparent.

The units were poorly trained, poorly equipped and most importantly inadequately maintained. The Russian army did not have enough transport vehicles for its logistics battalions to keep up with the rapidly advancing forward force.

That shortfall got worse and worse as the fight dragged on into a second, third, and then fourth week. Ukrainian drones and missiles began to knock down dozens of Russian military trucks.

As a result, Russia’s attempt to encircle Kyiv stalled while Russia attempted to reinforce bogged down battalions. A senior US defense official on Thursday said Russian forces are not actually attacking but trying to defend.

Forbes: Ukraine counter-attacks in Kyiv, 10,000 Russian troops are surrounded - Photo 2.

A burning Russian tank is seen in the Sumy region, Ukraine, March 7. Photo: Reuters


When the Russian army was stalled, Ukraine launched a general mobilization to add tens of thousands of new soldiers. Ukrainian battalions from the safe zone in the West have begun to move to the east. On March 19, these battalions clashed with Russian troops west of Kyiv.

This is a sign that the war may have begun to change. When rumors arose that Ukrainian battalions had launched a counterattack west of Kyiv, many took it as propaganda. However, by Thursday (March 24), NASA satellite imagery had gathered the first evidence in the field of that counterattack.

Satellite images of the Information Resource Management System (FIRMS) have captured very clear images of gunfights around Hostomel and Irpin – areas just west of Kyiv.

Multiple flames signaled intense fighting along the roads through Hostomel and Irpin towards the Ukrainian capital. A similar development was observed in the northwest, along the main transport routes connecting the Russian army with its forces in Belarus.

These scenes of fire and explosion clearly show the situation of protracted clashes between reinforced battalions of the Ukrainian Army and exhausted Russian battalions. The advantage appears to be in the hands of the Ukrainians, who on Wednesday liberated Makariv, a town 30 kilometers west of Kyiv.

While closing in on the Russians from the west, Ukraine maintained a solid defense to the east, forming a circle around the Russian vanguard that only a few weeks earlier had threatened to tighten the encirclement. Kyiv.

Forbes: Ukraine counter-attacks in Kyiv, 10,000 Russian troops are surrounded - Photo 4.

Sailors attend the funeral of First Class Captain Andrei Paliy, Deputy Commander of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet, who was killed in the port city of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine on March 20. Photo: Reuters

This blockaded area is said to have about 10,000 Russian troops on the payroll of the 35th and 36th armies, very vulnerable to attack. When the Russians ran out of food and ammunition, they could begin to surrender or risk being annihilated.

Ukraine’s counter-offensive is not limited to the western region of Kyiv, but also across the city. On Tuesday, Russian troops were only about 12 miles east of Kyiv. Two days later, according to the Pentagon, they were forced to retreat more than 20 miles (about 32 km) to the east and north.

Ukraine’s counterattacks around Kyiv did not immediately relieve pressure on the besieged cities of Chernihiv and Kharkiv to the east and Mariupol to the south. Nor did it immediately help Ukrainian forces fighting to liberate the southern city of Kherson from Russian occupation.

However, that could change. If the Ukrainian army can close in and eliminate the Russian forces west of Kyiv, their commanders can move forces east and south to launch or strengthen a counter-attack there.

More broadly, Ukraine’s total counter-offensive around Kyiv shows the conclusion many observers have reached two weeks into the war: Russia is no longer winning and may even be losing.


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