רון בן ישי באירפין
Ron Ben Yishai
Photo: Nadia Shevchenko
Russian forces making their way to Kyiv

Russian forces begin seizure of Ukraine's capital

In-depth: Before advancing deep into Kyiv, Russian forces are attempting to eradicate pockets of resistance on its outskirts, even at the cost of civilian lives; Ukrainian military sets up roadblocks in the capital to ambush encroaching Russian forces

Ron Ben-Yishai |
Published: 03.08.22, 16:01
Russian forces have started seizing the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv from all sides on Monday as Moscow prepares to escalate its offensive on the southern neighbor.
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  • In fact, many of the Russian forces have already reached the borders of the city's municipal territory, blocking the capital from the north and the west, all while keeping the southwest roads open.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    כוחות רוסים בדרך לקייב
    כוחות רוסים בדרך לקייב
    Russian forces making their way to Kyiv
    (Photo: EPA)
    Russian army tanks, as well as anti-tank and infantry units, are all preparing to enter the city from the northwest.
    Troops are concentrated at Antonov Airport near the city of Hostomel just outside Kyiv, inside the heavily-bombarded cities of Bucha and Irpin - where a humanitarian corridor was recently established.
    The Russians have not yet taken these three cities completely, but they do have a significant troop presence there. Antonov Airport, where the Russians’ logistical center is located, is virtually a battlefield where Ukrainian and Russian forces clash on a regular basis.
    It seems that Russian forces around these cities are preparing to enter Kyiv through route E373, which leads to the Podolsk neighborhood in the center of the capital.
    Another force is approaching Kyiv through highway E40, which leads to the city’s center directly from the west. And while this force was slightly lagging behind, it has already reached Kyiv’s municipal border.
    These are the forces that will most likely enter Kyiv first. They will most likely do so from the northwest and west in order to block the highway that enters the besieged capital from the north, along the Dnieper River.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    מחסום של צבא אוקראינה באזור סטויאנקה המקשר לאזור קייב מלחמה רוסיה
    מחסום של צבא אוקראינה באזור סטויאנקה המקשר לאזור קייב מלחמה רוסיה
    A Ukrainian military checkpoint on the road to Kyiv
    (Photo: AFP)
    The Russian forces threatening the eastern part of Kyiv, east of the Dnieper River, are much further away. They are closing in on the capital from the city of Chernivtsi in the northeast, from the city of Sumy in the east, and from the city of Kanib southeast of Kyiv - each is more than 100 km from the capital.
    The Russians, on their part, are in no hurry. They work according to a Soviet military doctrine which focuses on combined-arms warfare as well as on operational warfare.
    First, Russian forces fire heavy artillery, mostly on military installations but also on civilian neighborhoods, to prepare for future attacks - since they don’t favor wasting precise and expensive munitions on preparatory attacks.
    By all indications, positions and strongholds established by the Ukrainian army and the Ukrainian militias all around Kyiv are viable targets for the Russian’s artillery, which tends to bombard these locations with imprecise fire which often damages civilian structures and kills fleeing bystanders.
    I saw the results of these preparatory attacks with my own two eyes only last Sunday, when eight civilians from Irpin, including several children, were killed while trying to cross a bombed-out bridge between the besieged city and Kyiv.
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    A Ukrainian militiaman in the outskirts of Kyiv
    A Ukrainian militiaman in the outskirts of Kyiv
    A Ukrainian militiaman in the outskirts of Kyiv
    (Photo: EPA)
    War correspondent Itai Anghel witnessed a similar attack in northwest Kyiv, in which many Ukrainian soldiers were wounded. He also reported hearing gunfire, indicating that the Russians were less than a kilometer away from his position inside the capital.
    But again, the Russians are in no hurry. They prefer that the population and the defenders, who are in the open positions needed to launch anti-tank missiles, all flee before they move into the capital - partly due to a justified fear of ambushes inside the city.
    To the east and south of the city, the areas from which the Russians are still far away, the artillery fire is sporadic. It seems that in those areas the Russians are mainly trying to block the main traffic routes and then move along them until they encircle the eastern side of Kyiv.
    Territories already occupied by the Russians, in cities northeast of Kyiv's urban area, a military administration is immediately enforced by Russian Interior Ministry forces.
    In Kyiv proper, the people act as if the Russian siege has already begun.
    The Ukrainian army and the Kyiv municipality are placing more and more anti-tank checkpoints and prefabricated concrete slabs in the streets, all in order to delay and slow the encroaching Russian tanks and make them easy targets for RPG fire and incendiary bombs.
    There is also a lot of activity in the diplomatic arena, albeit with very few results.
    On Monday there was another meeting between the Russian negotiating team and the Ukrainian one in Belarus. Just like the two prior rounds, there are no tangible results on the horizon.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    בלארוס סבב שיחות משא ומתן שלישי בין משלחות רוסיה ו אוקראינה
    בלארוס סבב שיחות משא ומתן שלישי בין משלחות רוסיה ו אוקראינה
    Russian and Ukrainian negotiation teams meeting in Belarus for a third round of ceasefire negotiations
    Moscow has four main demands for a ceasefire.
    The first is that the Ukrainian army lay down its arms. The Kremlin stated that the moment Ukrainian forces cease fighting, the Russian army will do the same.
    The Ukrainians meanwhile, claim that Russian forces failed to adhere to such past promises. Adding that the Russians continuously target both Ukrainian armed forces and civilians despite declaring a “ceasefire.”
    The second is that the Ukrainian government introduce an amendment to the state constitution that prohibits Ukraine from entering into a military alliance with any other country - i.e. NATO.
    The third demand is that the Ukrainian government recognize the separatist provinces in the Donbas region - while the fourth demand is that Kyiv recognize Russia's sovereignty over the Crimean peninsula.
    The Ukrainians, for the time being at least, have refused these demands, though they keep the diplomacy option open.
    Meanwhile, the siege of Kyiv is likely to take place soon, albeit very slowly. The Russians want to minimize casualties among their own troops, as well as among Ukraine's civilians, whom Putin called “an integral part of the Russian people.”

    Ron Ben-Yishai is Ynet's correspondent to Ukraine






























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