Ukraine Situation Report: Kyiv Region Now Fully In Government Control According To Defense Official
After five weeks of fierce fighting, Ukraine has officially rebuffed Moscow’s attempt to sack Kyiv, at least for now.
Ukraine has reportedly recaptured all of Kyiv Oblast, namely the war-torn towns of Bucha, Hostomel, and Irpin northwest of the capital. This news comes as Russian forces have rapidly withdrawn from this front of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine after weeks of intense fighting and significant losses.
The sixth week of the war in Ukraine came with what appears to be a hasty Russian retreat from the stalemate to the north and west of Kyiv, with Ukrainian troops finding the campaign’s charred remnants in their wake.
It’s unclear how organized the Russian withdrawal to Belarus has been, with some reports that Ukraine has cut off a few units left behind near the frontlines. Apart from wreckage and destruction to vehicles and infrastructure, Ukrainian troops are reportedly finding many killed civilians and Russian soldiers’ bodies left behind.
For The War Zone’s previous rolling coverage of the war’s progress, click here to get caught up on today’s reports from Ukraine.
WARNING: The following tweets contain graphic material.
Ukrainian forces have reportedly recaptured the “whole Kyiv region,” according to a report from AFP.
The claim comes as Ukrainians are finding untold destruction in the towns and along roads leading into Kyiv from the north. The sheer volume of destroyed vehicles has evoked memories of the “Highway of Death” as Iraqi forces retreated from Kuwait in 1991.
There are also tragic reports of dead civilians found in some of the most war-torn areas. AFP reported that more than 20 people in civilian clothes were found dead with their hands tied in Bucha, along with numerous posts showing bodies in the streets.
Much of the terrain northwest of Kyiv flooded along the Irpin River in recent weeks, and new drone footage shows the inherent hazards of moving forces across that open flooded ground. We reported on the defensive barrier those floodwaters created, and you can read more about it here.
There are also reports that Russian forces have left behind many soldiers killed in action, including paratroopers reportedly killed in battle at Hostomel Airfield. This isn’t the first time Russian forces haven’t recovered their dead, but one wonders what impact the practice has on both morale and casualty counts sent back to Moscow.
We’re also seeing more imagery from the airfield that became a pivotal battleground in the war’s first days and beyond. It appears Ukrainian troops have reached the An-225 Mirya and other aircraft’s wreckage. We wrote about an effort to resurrect the massive cargo jet earlier this week, and you can read more about it here.
Speaking of that spectacular air assault in the war’s opening hours, there’s a report from the Wall Street Journal that the CIA gave Ukraine crucial intelligence to prepare against the attack. If successful, Russia would likely have airlifted additional troops in behind initial Ukrainian defensive lines to the north and opened an air supply corridor for its push on Kyiv.
In the south, where Russian forces are reportedly repositioning in a second effort to gain ground, the siege of Mariupol continues. Footage from Russian outlet Russia Today showed the city, of which roughly 40 percent has reportedly been destroyed, and Russian tanks firing on Ukrainian positions.
On a broader scale, here are the latest updates from the U.K. Ministry of Defence on the war’s status. Of note, Russian withdrawal markers have appeared on the map. There are additional reports of a few successful counteroffensives near Kharkiv and Sumy.
It’s also unclear what effect the reported Ukrainian helicopter attack on the Belgorod fuel depot will have on Russian efforts to reorient its attack. In its update, the U.K. Ministry of Defence noted that the strike could have serious impacts on Russian logistics. We wrote about the Ukrainian attack using Mi-24 Hind gunships, and you can read more about it here.
It takes a lot of fuel to move large units from one front to another. If this stockpile supplied Russian units trying to encircle Kharkiv and press into the Donbas from the north, it could further hinder those efforts. There are also reports that fuel is now being rationed throughout the entire region. This underscores just how important the strike was, even while debate swirls around who actually executed the attack and under what circumstances.
Saturday saw some renewed discussion about Russian forces in the breakaway state of Transnistria. The separatist region of Moldova on Ukraine’s southwest border hosts Russian forces but has thus far reportedly remained neutral.
Russian troops entering the war from Transnistria could complicate Ukraine’s defensive strategy for the southern cities of Odesa and Mykolayiv. An offensive on Mykolayiv appears to have stalled out against Ukrainian defenders, and despite the Russian amphibious force loitering in the Black Sea, Odesa remains in Ukrainian hands.
There were more protests against Russian occupying forces in southern Ukraine on Saturday, with one in the city of Enerhodar turning violent as Russian forces dispersed crowds. Enerhodar is the principal city closest to the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, the scene of a dramatic battle captured on CCTV several weeks ago as Russians took the facility.
While Ukrainian forces have used American-made FGM-148 Javelin missiles for some time, footage posted today reportedly shows one killing a Russian tank. The video isn’t particularly high quality, but note that the missile team’s position is largely hidden from the target in the village, making both detection and counterfire difficult. Whatever the missile hit, though, appears to cook off on impact.
As far as military assistance for Ukraine, the Department of Defense announced another $300 million in aid on Friday. The package Switchblade and Puma drones, armored humvees, and more logistical supplies to support the war effort.
Capabilities in this package include:
• Laser-guided rocket systems;
• Switchblade Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems;
• Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems;
• Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems;
• Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles;
• Small-to-large caliber nonstandard ammunition;
• Night vision devices, thermal imagery systems, and optics;
• Tactical secure communications systems;
• Non-standard machine guns;
• Commercial satellite imagery services;
• Medical supplies, field equipment, and spare parts.
One of the recent additions to Ukraine’s arsenal, the British Starstreak MANPADS, is reportedly behind the footage of a Mi-28 Havoc shootdown on Friday. This is reportedly the first kill in Ukraine for the system. We wrote about the Starstreak system and its unique advantages this week, and you can read more about it here.
It’s perhaps no coincidence then that the Russian ambassador to the U.K. then threatened to strike weapons shipments to Ukraine. This isn’t the first time, and likely won’t be the last, that we see this threat. We wrote about Russian attacks in western Ukraine, where it’s believed western supplies enter the country from Poland, here.
In a haunting foreshadowing of what’s to come when this war eventually ends, two people were reportedly killed by unexploded ordnance in Kryvyi Rih district northeast of Kherson. Apart from the obvious cleanup of wrecked vehicles, destroyed buildings, and infrastructure, it will likely take a herculean effort to clear Ukraine of unexploded ordnance (UXO) given the volume of artillery fire, missile strikes, and the use of cluster munitions on all fronts.
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