Russia opens new Kyiv entrance as Putin tries to ‘grind down’ resistance

Russian troops are shifting towards Kyiv from a brand new entrance, in keeping with US defence officers, as Vladimir Putin seeks to “grind down” Ukraine’s navy and prepares for a brand new onslaught on the nation’s capital.

The Pentagon on Tuesday warned Russia was stepping up efforts to encircle and transfer on Kyiv and was advancing on the town from the north-east of the nation. The event got here because the Russian navy additionally considerably accelerated missile assaults on Ukrainian cities.

A senior US defence official mentioned Russian troopers had been skirting Kharkiv and Chernihiv and heading in the direction of Kyiv, continuing on an strategy that had not been recognized till not too long ago. Russia’s troops had been about 60km from the centre of the capital, the official added.

However he mentioned Russian forces within the north and north-west of Kyiv, together with a convoy that seems to have all however stalled, had not made a lot progress.

William Burns, CIA director, advised US lawmakers that Ukraine faces an “ugly” few weeks as Russia escalates its navy marketing campaign regardless of setbacks, together with what the US estimates to be 2,000-4,000 casualties.

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The estimated Russian dying toll, which the US Defence Intelligence Company made with “low confidence”, can’t be independently verified. However it’s considerably greater than the roughly 500 casualties acknowledged by the Kremlin final week.

“I feel Putin is offended and pissed off proper now. He’s more likely to double down and attempt to grind down the Ukrainian navy with no regard for civilian casualties,” Burns mentioned.

After virtually two weeks of fierce combating, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has devastated cities, created 2mn refugees and shaken markets, fuelling considerations {that a} commodity crunch will batter the world financial system.

A whole bunch of 1000’s of civilians proceed to flee Ukraine every single day, with the UN estimating 2mn individuals have sought refuge in neighbouring international locations. EU officers mentioned they anticipated as many as 5mn refugees, in what is among the greatest actions of individuals throughout Europe in half a century.

Map showing more than 2mn people have left Ukraine. Total arrivals from Ukraine between Feb 24 and Mar 8* 2022. The country taking the highest number of refugees is Poland, with more than 1.2mn alone.

In a present of defiance, Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, started the day praising Ukrainians for his or her “braveness” and “dignity” in an tackle shot from his workplace on Kyiv’s Bankova Road.

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He ended the day invoking Winston Churchill in a video hyperlink to the UK parliament, saying that the nation “will struggle to the top”.

After a number of failed makes an attempt to permit civilians to flee frontline combating in latest days, Russia and Ukraine lastly halted hostilities for lengthy sufficient to permit some residents to go away the embattled metropolis of Sumy within the north-east of the nation, and Irpin on the outskirts of Kyiv.

However quickly after the primary two convoys of packed buses left Sumy, carrying native residents and a few international college students, Ukraine’s authorities mentioned the agreed protected route got here underneath tank fireplace, forcing departures to be suspended. “Taking pictures started alongside the route of the inexperienced hall, together with audible tanks,” wrote Mykhailo Ananchenko, an assistant to Sumy’s mayor.

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Regardless of deteriorating situations on the bottom, Russia has repeatedly failed to face by its guarantees of a ceasefire, blaming Ukrainian violations. Zelensky described earlier Moscow provides as cynical “propaganda”.

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The restricted evacuations on Tuesday got here as Russia continued to pound Ukraine’s different frontline cities with missile and artillery fireplace. Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, mentioned a convoy of provides had been shelled on its journey to the besieged port metropolis of Mariupol, the place she warned of an unfolding “humanitarian disaster”.

A complete of 6,705 missiles had been fired over the primary two weeks of the invasion, together with 50 over the previous 24 hours, the Pentagon official mentioned, arguing that Russia had accelerated its bombardment as a result of commanders had been “pissed off”.

A number of Ukrainian cities and cities stay underneath siege situations, with Mariupol hardest hit. Encircled by Russian forces for nearly per week, the town is going through shortages of water, electrical energy, meals and medicines, in keeping with Ukrainian and UN assist officers. About 200,000 residents are attempting to flee, in keeping with the Worldwide Committee of the Pink Cross.

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