At-a-glance guide to the Russia war

At-a-glance guide to the Russia war- BPN TODAY

Russian troops are advancing towards Kyiv in the north of Ukraine – but have been slowed down by attacks from Ukrainian forces and logistical problems.

Here are the latest developments on day 15 of the invasion:

  • Ukraine’s president says Russia’s bombing of a hospital in Mariupol is a war crime
  • The US warns Russia could be planning a chemical or biological attack
  • Moscow has deployed conscript troops
  • Russian forces continue to encircle Kharkiv in the east and Mariupol in the south
  • The Russians also appear to be encircling the southern city of Mykolayiv from the east

Russia launched its attack in the early hours of 24 February from three main directions: north, south and east.

Targets all over the country have been attacked from land, sea and air. But the Ukrainian military says the Russian advance has slowed and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) says Ukrainian forces have had “considerable success” against Russia’s air force and probably prevented them from controlling the airspace.

The fight for Kyiv

There has been intense shelling around Kyiv in recent days, but the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says that although Russian operations to attack the capital have likely begun, they have been on a smaller scale and more ad hoc than expected.

The small scale of the advances make a large-scale attack on Kyiv less likely, they add.

Retired British General, Sir Richard Barrons, says Russia isn’t making the progress it hoped for – but is still in a strong position.

The Russians are struggling to mobilise reserve forces, after suffering substantial losses.

In Irpin, to the north-west of the city, Russian forces are using “siege and starve” tactics, the ISW says, with Russian forces shelling civilian areas, cutting off electricity, food and water supplies. Thousands of civilians have fled.

Slow Russian progress in the north

Russian troops initially made quick gains, advancing from Belarus down the west side of the Dnieper river via Chernobyl.

However, the MoD says the main body of the large Russian column advancing on Kyiv remains over 30km (19 miles) from the centre of the city.

Many vehicles are believed to have run out of fuel or broken down.

There has also been intense fighting around Hostomel airport, which has changed hands several times.

Russian forces have continued efforts to take Chernihiv to the north east and are trying to maintain control of their lines of communication to Sumy in the east, the ISW says.

But they are facing strong Ukrainian opposition. Ukrainian troops have been targeting their supply lines on the roads from the Russian border.

Big Russian gains in the south

Russian forces have made rapid gains across the south of the country, advancing east and west from Crimea.

In the east, there is growing concern for tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the port city of Mariupol, which is encircled by Russian forces.

A Russian air strike on a maternity and children’s hospital there is a war crime, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says.

The UN says civilians in Mariupol, Kharkiv, Melitopol and elsewhere “desperately need aid, especially life-saving medical supplies”.

People are trapped without food, running water or electricity and there are reports of bodies in the streets.

To the west, Russian forces around Kherson appear to be moving toward Mykolayiv and west toward Odesa, although they could attempt to drive north east towards Zaporizhya, the ISW says.

Taking Odesa would seal off Ukraine from its coastline and secure a path for Russian forces from Donetsk to the Moldovan border.

Limited Russian advance in the east

Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine, continues to face intense aerial bombardment but Russia has not renewed attempts to take the city through a large-scale ground assault, the ISW says.

Artillery attacks on residential areas of Kharkiv are being investigated by UN prosecutors for possible war crimes.

Russian forces in the area have continued operations to the south east of the city, analysts say, with efforts launched to seize Izyum.

There are thought to be about 15,000 Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk in the south east, who may help a Russian advance.

Ukraine believes the figure is higher.

Thousands flee across borders

Since the invasion began, more than two million people have fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations. It’s the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two.

Unicef, the UN children’s agency, believes around half of them are children and young people.

Source BBC

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