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Russian offensive stalls in Ukraine, US intelligence says

(B2) Almost all of Russia's advances remain stalled. This is the latest observation from the Pentagon, during a videoconference briefing, which B2 was able to access. It gives the detail, zone by zone.

The situation is dated March 14.

The siege of kyiv continues, without significant progress

To the North-West of kyiv, on the axis going down towards the airport, Hostomel, there was no “ no appreciable change in [Russian troops'] progress over the weekend ". They are always fair around the airport, about 15 kilometers from the city center ". The fighters " try to rush in force behind advanced elements, continuously, but not at a [very] sustained pace ". The number remains difficult to quantify ". On the progress of the convoy based off the coast of kyiv, “ it has stalled with no significant progress ».

In Chernihiv, north-north-east of kyiv, there too the Russian offensive is also “ to the point of death », without any real progress on either side. Certainly, "Ukrainians tried over the weekend to open some lines of communication to the South and South-Is, [with] some success ". But Chernihiv remains isolated ". However, there is " a very strong Ukrainian resistance which prevents Russian troops from progress beyond ».

20 km from kyiv to the east, the strong resistance of the Ukrainians blocks any advance

On the eastern line, the Ukrainians retain control. The Russians are still about “20 to 30 kilometers east” from Kyiv. “No change for a few days. “The Russians do” facing strong resistance from the Ukrainians, who still control the town of Brovary ". City where we could see at the end of last week several “ tank convoys hit (by drones). On the southern line of kyiv, the same. " No progress since last week where some Russian elements had even had to flow back to Sumy.

Kharkiv, bombardments but fierce resistance from the Ukrainians

In Kharkiv, it's the same thing. Ukrainian forces continue to defend the city and oppose Russian forces “ quite fierce resistance ". The fighting in Kharkiv remains quite heavy. And the city experienced a increased strikes, causing fires ". The Russian forces seem to have " made no apparent progress on the ground ". They are always " on the outskirts " from the city.

A Russian advance towards Izyum to block the East

Over the weekend, to the East/Southeast of the city, a Russian column of around 50-60 vehicles descended towards Izyum (on the road to Sloviansk). We " would say that they separated certain forces to initiate a turning movement towards Kharkiv “We estimate on the American side. They try " to block the Donbass region and prevent the influx towards the west of Ukrainian armed forces located in the eastern part of the country to prevent them from coming to the aid of others Ukrainian defenders near Kyiv”. The bombardment of Dnipro in the center of the country is also part of this tactic.

In the south, isolated Mariupol

The city of Mariupol, on the coast of the Sea of ​​Azov, remains " isolated ". Russian forces are to the north and east of the city. There are heavy bombings. Ukrainians continue to “ defend " the city. We start at " see a sort of advance from North to South thus making it possible to make the connection between the Russian forces of the North and the South.

Mykolaiv defended

In Mykolaiv, in the southwest, the last big city in the east of the country before Odessa, the Ukrainians continue to defend their territory. Russian forces still appear to be outside the city, " 10 or 15 kilometers to the northeast ". There is no no real movement " since Friday.

In Odessa, no imminent assault expected

In the big port city of Odessa, not far from there, “ nothing important to report. No imminent amphibious assault [expected]. No maritime activity ". The question remains about Russian intentions: “ It is unclear once the Russians take Mykolaiv, what their intentions will be.. » Two options are possible: « a turn towards the West to go to Odessa by land, or go back towards the North and block the South of kyiv. "It could be" one or the other plan, or maybe both ».

In the West, cruise missile strikes on Yaroviv

The strikes on the Ukrainian military training center in Yaroviv near Lviv were carried out by air-launched cruise missiles “ by long-range bomber aircraft ". In all, " a few dozen missiles damaged at least seven structures ". A strike made from Russian airspace, not from inside Ukrainian airspace or Belarusian or Black Sea. The Americans do not want to give any assessment, on the number of killed and wounded.

No use of No Fly Zone

A " example » according to the American officer of the uselessness of a “ no-fly zone inside Ukraine ". A No Fly Zone “ would not have had effect on this particular series of strikes ».

Civilian bombings

In the end, Russian tactics remain the same for the moment: “ surround and isolate "the big ones" population centers such as Kharkiv in the North-East, Mariupol in the South, and the capital kyiv in part. Without apparent military success on the ground. But the bombardments of cities are increasing. There's no doubt about it » insists the senior American officer, who speaks off the record, under the seal of anonymity. NB: a function which aims in large part to terrorize and scare away the civilian population, in the same way as Bashar al-Assad was able to do in Syria.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

The Russians still have capabilities. According to US intelligence, the Russians are not out of stock. Even though they used nearly 900 missiles since the start of the offensive (compared to the 710 since the beginning of last week), the Russians still have a lot of capacity”. " We rate their available combat power at just under 90% and haven't seen them try to replenish. ».

Turkish drones very useful to Ukrainians. The TB2 drones supplied by Turkey have a “ great effect according to the Americans. Ukrainians use them “ skillfully enough » testifies a superior officer. And this capability could soon be completed by the NATO Allies. " We are discussing with allies and partners in the region [Editor's note: Azerbaijan and Israel] and outside the region the capabilities that we believe the Ukrainians need most to defend themselves. “Drones” are certainly a very useful ability. 

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).