May 20, 2022

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Russia still has its sights set on Kyiv, despite Ukraine's stiff resistance

Russia still has its sights set on Kyiv, despite Ukraine’s stiff resistance

Emergency personnel stand amid building debris from a missile strike in the Lubanovsky district on February 26, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Laurent van der Stockt | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The Kremlin still wants invading forces to take Kyiv, even as Russian forces continue to face stiff Ukrainian resistance, according to a Pentagon assessment shared by CNBC.

“We have all indications that they still want to take Kyiv, that they are advancing on the ground and trying to get closer,” said a senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to share new details from the assessment.

The person said the Russian advance on the Ukrainian capital had slowed, but that troops were roughly 25 kilometers (16 miles) outside the city. The official warned that the distance was an estimate and movements on the ground would change.

They throw a lot into solving the problem.

US defense official, on Russian firepower used so far

“Our expectation is that they want to keep moving forward and try to encircle the city [Kyiv] “They haven’t gotten there yet, and that hasn’t happened yet, but that seems to be what they’re interested in doing,” the official said.

the most recent The assessment published by the British Ministry of Defense He said Ukraine still controlled not only Kyiv but also Kharkiv and Chernihiv, both scenes of brutal fighting for days.

“Despite the constant attempts to suppress the details of the conflict by the Russian population, the Russian armed forces were for the first time forced to acknowledge the casualties,” the British ministry said.

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on Monday, Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs He claimed that the Russian invasion forces had so far lost 4,500 personnel, about 200 tanks and about 60 aircraft, half of them helicopters.

CNBC is unable to independently confirm Ukraine’s allegations.

Ukraine Air Force and Communications

The US defense official explained that the Russians began targeting Ukraine’s missile defense capabilities early, but “on the fifth day, the Ukrainians have significant air and missile defense capabilities.”

The official said command and control in Ukraine remains intact. Aside from intermittent outages, connections are still available.

Command and control refers to Ukraine’s ability to centralize its forces across the country, primarily through electronic means.

Missile attacks, logistical problems

A US defense official said Russia has so far fired more than 380 missiles. When the Russian firepower was pressed, the official said, “They throw too much at the problem.”

“They are firing medium-range and short-range cruise missiles,” the official added. They use artillery, missiles, manned aircraft, and they have infantry there.

US and British officials continue to say that Russian units are dealing with supply disruptions and logistical failures.

The US official said the Pentagon had not seen any indication of Belarusian forces operating in Ukraine, despite outside reports to the contrary. Belarus is closely allied with Russia.

“The best thing we have is that the forces inside Ukraine are all Russian,” the official said.

A US defense official said nearly 75% of the Russian forces that were organized along the Ukrainian border before the invasion have now crossed into the country.