Finding a way out of the war in Ukraine proves elusive

Indeed, even as Russia expanded its artillery, missile and shelling strikes on Sunday, Russian and Ukrainian forces were preparing for wh...

Indeed, even as Russia expanded its artillery, missile and shelling strikes on Sunday, Russian and Ukrainian forces were preparing for what promises to be a decisive battle in Kyiv.

Mr. Putin has demonstrated in past conflicts in Syria and Chechnya a willingness not only to bomb heavily populated areas, but also to use civilian casualties as leverage against his enemies. Senior US officials said the coming weeks could see a long and drawn-out fight with thousands of casualties on both sides, as well as among the estimated 1.5 million citizens remaining in the city.

Russian and Ukrainian forces are now engaged in fierce street battles in suburban towns around the capital. Russian forces vastly outnumber the Ukrainian army, but the Ukrainians ambushed them with Javelin anti-tank missiles supplied by NATO and the United States.

Lt. Gen. Scott D. Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told lawmakers last week there was a limit to how long Kiev could hold out as Russian forces closed in from the east, north and south, tightening the noose. “With supplies cut off, it will get a little desperate in, I would say, 10 days to two weeks,” General Berrier said.

Another senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential intelligence assessments, said it could take up to two weeks for Russian forces to surround Kiev, then at least a month to s seize it. This would require a combination of relentless bombardment and what could be weeks or months of door-to-door street fighting.

“It will cost a lot of Russian blood,” said retired Admiral James G. Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe. This high cost, he added, could lead Mr Putin to destroy the city with an onslaught of missiles, artillery and bombs – “continuing a series of war crimes unprecedented in the 21st century”.

The Russian assault has so far failed to achieve any of Mr Putin’s original objectives. But on the battlefield, he’s closer to some goals than others.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Finding a way out of the war in Ukraine proves elusive
Finding a way out of the war in Ukraine proves elusive
Newsrust - US Top News
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