Authorities in Irpin, on the northwestern outskirts of kyiv, announced late Monday that they had regained control of the town, the scene of fierce fighting since the start of the war. But the bombing and the exchange of artillery fire is still going on, according to sources from the kyiv government. The Russian Army troops are barely 800 meters from this enclave through which the Kremlin military wanted to penetrate the Ukrainian capital, confirmed an adviser to the Ministry of the Interior.
The fact that Russia has withdrawn or lost ground in different areas of Ukraine, including around the capital, is interpreted by the Ukrainian Army as Moscow trying to reinforce itself to attack again with more means and preparation. The Kremlin, sources from the Ministry of Defense understand, is still trying to take control of the cities of the former Soviet republic, including kyiv.
Just five kilometers from Irpin, a roadblock prevented vehicles from moving forward at noon on Tuesday. Only some ambulances and vans with people who were still being evacuated from that population were allowed to leave. In the background the detonations sounded every so often. Next to the roadblock, between some buildings, in a couple of tents, several toilets paid attention to the evacuated neighbors. An important part were older people and some even needed a wheelchair.
A large group of police officers closely followed the departure process of those arriving from Irpin. From one of the ambulances, a dusty and tired young man got out. At every movement he moaned. He was only carrying a plastic bag with what appeared to be some bread and some bills in his left hand. After sitting him in a chair, several agents cut his jeans with scissors while the paramedics arrived. Inside him, the fabric was covered with dried blood along with several wounds on his right leg. At the same time, other policemen insistently checked his documentation. One of the obsessions of the Ukrainian Security Forces is to try to control possible pro-Russian infiltrators or Kremlin soldiers who have been left behind in the withdrawal of their comrades in towns like this where they have lost their positions.
This stagnation of the Russian troops is interpreted not only as the result of the Ukrainian military advance and the recovery of key towns such as Irpin, but also as the product of the logistical obstacles of the Russian army. According to the US Institute of Warfare (ISW), the Kremlin has difficulty continuing to recruit soldiers in Russia and Moscow may be unable in the short term to provide relief for the military engaged in combat operations. . This institute of war studies believes that the Russian army has probably deployed most of its troops already trained in Ukraine and that it may take months to have other soldiers sufficiently trained in combat. This does not mean that the Kremlin has stopped deploying more soldiers in Ukraine, but it has been observed, emphasizes the ISW, a “significant decrease in the intensity of trafficking from the depths of the Russian Federation.”
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The daily report released by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense through its social networks has also warned that, despite the advances of the Ukrainian armed forces around kyiv, “Russia continues to represent a significant threat to the city thanks to its attack capacity”, a point of view shared by the ISW, which has also confirmed that the Russian forces have not yet shown signs of abandoning their objective of capturing kyiv, despite the fact that the Kremlin affirmed in the past Friday that it would concentrate its military operations in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas.
Ukrainian counteroffensives across the country
This Tuesday, Russian attacks and Ukrainian counteroffensives have continued throughout the country, when the new round of negotiations between the Ukrainian and Russian teams has been held in Istanbul and has achieved the most significant progress to date, with a concrete Ukrainian proposal to renounce NATO membership in exchange for security guarantees from third countries in bilateral agreements, and that opens the door for the first time to negotiate the status of Crimea within 15 years and of Donbas.
After the round of dialogue in Istanbul, Alexandr Fomin, Russian Deputy Defense Minister, announced that Moscow has decided to “drastically reduce military operations” in the kyiv and Chernihiv areas, in the northeast of the country not far from the border with Belarus. Fomin has assured that the objective of this measure is to advance the dialogue and “increase mutual trust.” Ukraine has taken these statements with skepticism, although the truth is that analysts point out that with its troops stalled and with much slower and limping progress, the Kremlin is seeking to change its strategy.
Shortly before sitting down at the dialogue table, a Russian attack destroyed the Mikolaiv regional administration building, in southern Ukraine and a key city for the Russian strategy of dominating the southern flank of the country and the Black Sea. There are at least nine dead and 28 injured, according to local authorities. Vladimir Putin’s forces, who have targeted local governments – they already bombed the Kharkov Administration in the first week of March – tried to destroy the Mikolaiv Governor’s headquarters last Monday, but the attack ended up hitting a hotel. The governor of Mikolaiv, the charismatic Vitaly Kim, famous for his messages on social networks and for his resistance and that of the city to the invasion, was not in the building because this Tuesday he slept more than necessary, as he commented in the social media.
Ukrainian troops are also launching a fierce counteroffensive on the southern front, towards Kherson, the only occupied regional capital and Russia’s biggest conquest. In the axis that unites the punished Chernihiv and Sumi, where the Russians have tried to advance towards kyiv from the east, the Ukrainian counteroffensive has also managed to stop the Kremlin troops. After days of battle at Brovari, the Ukraine could have stalled the Russian advance there. Moscow has shown no signs of reducing its offensive in eastern Ukraine or on the city of Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, where its troops already control several areas and from where the Kremlin media are already broadcasting, broadcasting images of the destroyed town, claiming that everything is the work of Ukrainian “nationalists”.