Russia Claims It Has Seized Control Of The Southern Ukrainian City Of Kherson
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is now on its seventh day and by every indication, it is entering into a much more brutal phase.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, which has already taken many twists and turns and galvanized unprecedented international support for Ukraine, has now been going on for a week. Russian forces appear to have expected to face little resistance, something that has very much not been the case. Now they look to be shifting their focus to encircling major cities, including the country's capital Kyiv, while trying to soften up the defenders inside with missile, air, and artillery strikes. You can quickly get up to speed on the current state of the conflict in our previous rolling coverage here. Now let's get to the most recent news coming out of the conflict.
We have concluded our updates to this story and are continuing our rolling coverage of the conflict in Ukraine here.
UPDATE: 8:30 AM EST—
The situation on the ground in Kherson is increasingly confused, with the local authorities now claiming that the southern city remains in Ukrainian hands, at odds with earlier Russian Ministry of Defense statements that they had captured it.
Videos on social media show Russian military vehicles and soldiers on the streets, while the regional governor said overnight that the city was surrounded, with Russian troops looting shops and pharmacies.
However, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych, has since said that while street fighting continues around the port, the city has not fallen. Now, the city’s mayor, Igor Kolykhaiev, has said that Kherson is still under Ukrainian control and that the city was now working to “collect the [bodies of the] dead” and “restore electricity, gas, water, and heating where they are damaged.”
UPDATE: 3:45 AM EST—
Russia now claims they have taken Kherson:
Kherson's strategic location:
UK MoD general intel assessment:
80% of Russia's massed combat capability is now deployed into Ukraine:
More urban strikes, this one taking out the main national police building in Kharkiv. Getting into the widespread destruction phase of this conflict:
Outside of Kyiv:
Estimated control map, a bit more red ink on the page today:
Outskirts of Kharkiv getting hit with MLS artillery:
Ukrainians are fighting back by going after Russian columns, increasingly in urban terrain. Lots of vehicle destruction hitting social media channels in the last eight hours or so:
Excuse us if this is a repost, but this video of a tank taking a shot at a guy filming it is just nuts. Barely a flinch:
Kyiv's subway stations are literally bunkers:
More TB2s arriving just in time:
A bit illustrative of the Russian invasion plan:
Leading from the front on the streets of the capital. Really shows you how non-existent Russian ISR is. Reznikov also led the delegation to meet with the Russians along the border with Belarus:
This is what the Ukrainian MoD says it has destroyed since the war began:
The ongoing Russian assault directed against Kharkiv, Ukraine's second city, now also involves Russian paratroopers, according to Ukrainian security chiefs. Officials said that Russian troops had conducted an aerial assault on the city this morning and were now engaged in heavy fighting with the Ukrainian defenders. Reports suggest that the Russian paratroopers targeted a military hospital in the early hours of this morning.
While Russian Airborne Troops, or VDV, have been involved in the previous fighting, there has not been positive confirmation that they have conducted aerial assaults. The latest news from Kharkiv suggests that may have changed, adding a new dynamic to the fighting.
New details have been provided by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense about the air war, which has so far apparently been raging, but with very few opportunities to positively confirm actual aircraft losses. According to a statement from the ministry, air battles in the course of last night saw the Ukrainian air defenses destroy two Russian Su-35 Flanker multirole fighters: "At night, March 1, a fierce air battle broke out in the Kyiv region between a pair of MiG-29 fighters of the Tactical Aviation Brigade of the Ukrainian Air Force and a pair of Russian Su-35S. As a result of the air combat, both Russian planes were destroyed!" The same statement, which cannot presently be verified, claims that as well as the MiG-29s, an S-300P (SA-10 Grumble) surface-to-air missile system was also involved in the engagement.
However, Ukraine has admitted that it also lost a MiG-29 during the battle, with the search for the pilot ongoing.
"Yes, today the enemy prevails in the quantity and quality of aircraft and weapons, but the air force is doing their best to clear the Ukrainian sky from the enemy presence," the statement concludes.
In related news, there are now photos claiming to show the wreckage of a Russian Su-34 Fullback strike aircraft reportedly downed over Ukrainian territory. The limited imagery available certainly appears to show parts of this type of aircraft, together with signs of snow on the ground, but there is currently no firm evidence that it was actually lost over Ukraine as part of the current fighting.
POSTED: 9:40 PM EST —
Late on Monday, Ukrainian authorities claimed that they had foiled an attempt to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelensky. Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council chief Oleksiy Danilov disclosed this plot at a briefing, according to an official post on the Telegram social network.
Danilov said that Kadyrovtsy, members of a paramilitary force that reports directly to Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia's semi-autonomous republic of Chechenya, had been behind the attempted murder and had been killed by Ukrainian forces. He further said that disillusioned members of Russia's Federal Security Service, better known by the Russian acronym FSB, had tipped off Ukraiian authorities.
So far, there is no independently verifiable evidence to go along with this reported assassination attempt. At the same time, there is certainly circumstantial evidence to support it. On February 24, the day that the invasion started, Zelensky had said that there were already "sabotage groups" inside Kyiv hunting for him and his family. That followed earlier reports that U.S. officials had obtained intelligence indicating the Kremlin had a list of Ukrainians, which included the country's president, who would be either killed or rounded up in camps as part of Putin's "special military operation."
In addition, Danilov asserted that a portion of the Kadyrovtsy had been killed in a firefight in Hostomel (Gostomel), a town just outside Kyiv. Videos had previously emerged that reportedly showed Chechen special operations forces there.
More recently, Chechyna's Kadyrov publicly pledged to send thousands more forces to join the fighting in Ukraine.
True or not, Danilov saying that FSB officers opposed to the invasion had been instrumental in upending the assassination could prompt a disruptive counter-intelligence effort within that organization to find out if any such individuals actually exist.
Footage taken from a publicly available closed-circuit television feeds in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson appears to shows an array of Russian military vehicles parked outside of the building that serves as the seat of the government for the entire region, and otherwise appearing to operate freely. This could indicate that Russian forces have secured the city after days of fighting.
Video footage had emerged of fighting in Kherson during the day. The U.K. Ministry of Defense had earlier assessed it to be still under Ukrainian control, but encircled. The city occupies a strategic location on the other side of the Dnieper River north of the Crimean Peninsula. Its capture could open up new paths of advance for Russian forces heading north.
Multiple outlets have reported that U.S. President Joe Biden is set to institute a ban on any Russian-owned or operated aircraft entering U.S. airspace. The European Union and other countries in Europe had already instituted similar prohibitions. Canada said today it would move to close its ports to Russian ships, as well.
In the face of sanctions and general public pressure, companies and other organizations around the world continue to sever ties with entities in Russia. In one particularly significant announcement, Boeing has said it will no longer provide spare parts or other services to Russian airliners that operate its aircraft. In addition, it is suspending "major operations" at its offices in Moscow, which include a design center and have become an important part of the company's global operations since they were first opened nearly three decades ago. Boeing's work at offices in Kyiv has also been suspended due to the conflict.
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
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