Russian forces falling back as Ukraine springs counter offensives—U.K.

Ukrainian forces are counterattacking and repelling Russian troops, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said in its latest intelligence assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s invasion of Ukraine, which began more than a month ago.

In the Friday morning update, the ministry said Ukraine has been successful in recapturing towns and defensive positions near the capital, Kyiv.

“Ukrainian counter-attacks, and Russian Forces falling back on overextended supply lines, has allowed Ukraine to re-occupy towns and defensive positions up to 35 kilometres east of Kyiv,” the Ministry of Defence said on Twitter.

“Ukrainian Forces are likely to continue to attempt to push Russian Forces back along the north-western axis from Kyiv towards Hostomel Airfield,” it said.

Russian forces have largely stalled due to logistics issues and stiff Ukrainian resistance, the ministry said, more than four weeks after Putin launched what he describes as a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

“In the south of Ukraine, Russian Forces are still attempting to circumvent Mykolaiv as they look to drive west towards Odesa,” the assessment concluded.

Russian forces have launched attacks on the southern city of Mykolaiv, located near the Black Sea, as part of efforts to take the key port of Odesa, but have so far been met with stiff resistance.

Ukrainian forces have launched counterattacks in Mykolaiv to try to push back Russian forces.

The Ministry of Defence on Wednesday noted that Russian forces were “facing considerable supply and morale issues,” noting that Ukraine’s successful counterattacks are likely to “disrupt the ability of Russian forces to reorganise and resume their own offensive towards Kyiv.”

The intelligence echoes analysis from the Pentagon on March 17. A senior U.S. defense official told reporters that as Ukrainian forces continue to put up determined resistance, Moscow appears to be suffering from shortages, and commanders are struggling to sustain their troops in combat.

Russia’s forces are “basically frozen around the country on multiple lines of axes, struggling to fuel themselves and to feed their troops and to supply them with arms and ammunition,” the official said.

“Part of that we believe is because they didn’t properly plan for—to execute good logistics. But also because they ran into a stiffer resistance from the Ukrainians than they expected.”

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby on Wednesday praised Ukraine’s forces as defending parts of their country “very smartly, very nimbly, very creatively.”

“We have seen indications that the Ukrainians are going a bit more on the offense now,” Kirby said. “We have seen them now in places, particularly in the south near Kherson, [where] they have tried to regain territory.”

The Russian authorities didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ukrainian Military Forces servicemen block a road in the so-called government quarter in Kyiv on February 24, 2022. Britain’s Ministry of Defence said in its latest intelligence assessment that Ukrainian forces are counter-attacking and repelling Russian troops.
SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

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