With “absolute air superiority”, the Russian army was approaching Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, on Thursday with the intention of “decapitating the government” to put in place a pro-Russian one, according to Western military sources.
(Context: Attention: Russia attacks Ukraine by air and land; 137 Ukrainians are dead)
Having fired more than 160 missiles at Ukrainian military targets, Russian forces advanced rapidly from Belarus to the south and “They got closer to Kiev” throughout the day, a senior Pentagon official said.
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“Basically they intend to decapitate the government and install their own form of government, which would explain this initial advance towards Kiev,” he estimated.
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According to a senior Western intelligence official, “Ukraine’s air defenses have been eliminated and they have no air force left to protect themselves.”
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“In the next few hours the Russians will try to concentrate an overwhelming force around the capital and the defense now falls to the ground forces and the popular resistance”, he explained.
Russian troops will be around Kiev “in a matter of days, or tomorrow morning, at the rate at which they are advancing,” he stressed. “There isn’t much time left. I think a lot will depend on the resistance of the Ukrainians.”
For now Russia has advanced into Ukrainian territory along three axes: south from Crimea to the city of Kherson, across the Dnieper River, north from Belarus to Kiev, along two highways northeast and northwest of the Ukrainian capital. , and east from the Russian city of Belgorod toward the large industrial city of Kharkov, according to Pentagon estimates.
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The US official initially reported 75 bomber sorties and 100 missile launches of various types, including sea-to-land missiles fired from the Black Sea, but later said that the number of missiles fired since the start of the Russian offensive had risen. to more than 160.
“Most of them are short-range ballistic missiles, but there are also medium-range missiles and cruise missiles,” he specified.
“They also dropped more paratroopers on Kharkov and we estimate that there is still heavy fighting” in this area of eastern Ukraine.
The attacks have focused on military targets, including air bases and the Ukrainian army command, but according to the Pentagon the objective is to take control of key cities, especially the capital, Kiev.
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Russian forces attacked the Antonov military airport in Gostomel, on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital, where fighting appeared to continue late in the day.
This airport could become a rendezvous point for the Russian army if it wanted to surround the capital. “If Moscow manages to get it under control and maintain air superiority (which is very possible), they could use the airport as an entry point to attack Kiev,” tweeted Michael Horowitz, a security expert at Consultant Le Beck International.
The senior Pentagon official emphasized that this offensive is unprecedented in more than 70 years.
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We have never seen a move like this, from nation state to nation state, since World War II, certainly nothing of this magnitude, scope and scale.
“We have never seen a move like this, from nation state to nation state, since World War II, certainly nothing of this magnitude, scope and scale,” he said.
So far the Russians have not entered western Ukraine and there is no indication of an amphibious assault in the south from the Black Sea, the source said.
There are no estimates of damage or casualties in the Ukrainian military.
“There are signs that they are resisting and fighting back,” the official said.
The country’s communications appear to be working, he said. He believes that in a second phase there will be a cyber attack to paralyze them.
The Pentagon has not confirmed the destruction of several Russian military aircraft or the Russian military’s takeover of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. But The Pentagon will send some 7,000 additional soldiers to Germany to “reassure NATO allies”deter a Russian attack and be prepared to support the needs of the region.”
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These US soldiers join the 5,000 already sent by President Joe Biden to Germany and to NATO’s eastern flank. Counting the reinforcements announced this Thursday, the United States will have more than 90,000 soldiers in Europe.
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