Chris Lange, FISM News
Ukrainian troops managed to retake the Kyiv suburb of Makariv early Tuesday following fierce combat with Russian forces. The victory allowed Ukraine to regain control of an important highway and prevent Russian troops from surrounding Kyiv from the northwest. Nonetheless, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said Russian forces were able to partially take other northwest suburbs, including Bucha, Hostomel and Irpin, according to reporting by the Associated Press.
With many Kremlin forces still stalled in several places, the Russians have increasingly focused their air power and artillery on Ukraine’s cities and civilians. A senior U.S. Department of Defense official speaking on condition of anonymity said Russia continues to struggle with problems in the areas of “command and control, logistics and sustainment issues.”
“[Russian soldiers] just weren’t fully prepared for operations of this intensity [and] for this long on so many different multiple lines of attack,” the official said. “They did not expect this level of resistance.”
The official further related that Russian forces are facing a dwindling supply of precision-guided munitions, forcing them to increase their use of less accurate “dumb bombs.”
“We’ve also seen them suffer failures of some of their precision-guided munitions where they’re just not operating. Either they’re failing to launch, or they’re failing to hit the target, or they’re failing to explode on contact,” the official said.
In another development, over a dozen Russian warships have been active in the northern Black Sea at Odesa.
“We think that at least some of the shelling that’s happening around Odesa is a result of those ships,” the official said.
Pentagon comments on ‘missteps’ of Russia military
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the Kremlin has been unable to accomplish nearly all of its military objectives, pointing out that Russia had hoped to seize control of “key ports, key cities, [and] key government institutions,” and install a pro-Russian government.
“They’re still having fuel problems. They’re still having trouble feeding some of their troops. They’re having trouble with command and control on the ground, so they’ve made missteps of their own,” Kirby said, adding that Russian forces lack “jointness.”
“We don’t see a level of integration between their air forces and their ground forces with any level of efficiency,” he said.
Biden says worst may be yet to come in war
Ahead of his planned trip to Europe later this week to discuss the war with allies, President Biden suggested Monday evening that the world likely hasn’t seen the worst of the damage the Kremlin still has in store for Ukraine.
“Putin’s back is against the wall,” Biden said during an evening business roundtable. “He wasn’t anticipating the extent or the strength of our unity. And the more his back is against the wall, the greater the severity of the tactics he may employ.”
The president also repeated accusations that Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering using chemical weapons.
“He’s already used chemical weapons in the past, and we should be careful of what about — of what’s about to come,” Biden said. “[Putin] knows there’ll be severe consequences because of the united NATO front, but the point is: It’s real.”
Biden also repeated warnings of possible cyber warfare by Russia, indicating that the Kremlin has “a very sophisticated cyber capability.”
Earlier Tuesday, Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger urged private sector partners to bolster their defenses against cyber attacks, citing “evolving threat intelligence” that the Kremlin is actively “exploring options for potential cyberattacks on critical infrastructure” in the U.S.
Neuberger said that, despite repeated warnings, private sector industries remain vulnerable to “compromising systems,” which she said “is deeply troubling.”
Peace talks remain stalled
Meanwhile, talks between Ukraine and Russia have continued via video with no additional progress reported. During his nightly address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterated that he is open to waiving any NATO bid by Ukraine in exchange for the withdrawal of Russian forces and security guarantees from Moscow. Zelenskyy further expressed a willingness to reevaluate the status of Crimea, which Russia seized in 2014, as well as portions of the eastern Donbas region held by Russian-backed separatists, but that these would be subjects to be dealt with in the future.
Zelenskyy also said he plans to speak with Japanese lawmakers today as part of his ongoing appeals to foreign legislatures for aid and support.
He then went on to praise those who have bravely fought back against Russia.
“There is no need to organize resistance,” he said. “Resistance for Ukrainians is part of their soul.”