‘Russian advance slowed by fierce Ukrainian resistance and logistical problems’

The war in Ukraine is going on for three days, and according to the British and Americans, Russian soldiers are now 30 kilometers away from the capital Kiev. Nevertheless, according to various experts, the Russian advance seems to be delayed due to problems with the supply of goods and fuel. In addition, the Russians are encountering fierce resistance from the Ukrainian army.

The Kremlin said this afternoon that the offensive of Russian troops paused yesterday on the order of President Putin. Russia would be awaiting peace talks with Ukraine, but that country would refuse to sit at the negotiating table. Therefore, according to a Russian government spokesman, it was decided to resume the advance โ€œaccording to plan againโ€.

An adviser to Ukrainian President Zelensky says it is wrong that the country rejected the peace restrictions. Also, according to the adviser, it is โ€œabsolutely untrueโ€ that Russia paused the offensive, as the Kremlin says. Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops continue to resist unabated.

Difficult to pass terrain

It is not surprising that the Dutch Commander of the Armed Forces, General Onno Eichelsheim, that Russia is struggling to win from the Ukrainian army. The Russians are dealing with difficult terrain in parts of Ukraine. That works to their detriment, he argues.

In addition, the moral of Ukrainian troops is high. โ€œThey are willing to fight for the country,โ€ says the Commander of Armed Forces. The resistance they offer at the moment is strong and that is why, according to him, the battle is far from fought. The longer the Ukrainians endure, the less likely Russia will win this war, Eichelsheim thinks. Extra time brings more challenges, such as the supply of troops and vehicles.

The British Ministry of Defence also says that the rise of the Russians has probably slowed down due to problems with logistics and strong resistance.

Another reason the Russians are less likely to move than they had announced is because they are reluctant, says defense expert Peter Wijninga from the Hague Center for Strategic Studies. โ€œWe know the images of Russian bombing over Syria, and that hasn‘t happened here yet. If that’s what they want, they can.โ€

According to Wijninga, the Russians are mainly trying to harass military targets and to make as few civilian casualties as possible. โ€œThat also means that it takes longer before you can achieve certain military goals.โ€

According to Wijninga, the restraint may have to do with the views of the Ukrainian people about Russia. Putin wouldn‘t want to harass the people too much. In addition, the President makes an error in judgment. โ€œI don’t think Ukrainians think more favourably about the Russians when they see that they don‘t completely bombard their cities.โ€

The Russians attack from three areas: Donbas, Crimea and Belarus. From the last country, the main attack takes place, because the Ukrainian capital Kiev is not far from the border.

In the map below, the current situation in Ukraine, as far as is known:

Russia’s main goal is to take Kiev, says the British Ministry of Defence. If all parliament buildings are occupied in the city, then there is no government anymore, the Russians reason according to Wijninga.

The aim is to ensure that Ukraine is no longer able to make political decisions, and that the armed forces are no longer controlled. Should that happen, the defence expert expects the fierce fight against Russia to continue. โ€œThen you‘re going to have a long period of guerrilla battles.โ€

In any case, an attempt to take the capital does not go without a fight. โ€œIt’s going to be fights from house to house. There can be an ambush at every corner of the street and can be shot from any window,โ€ says Wijninga. โ€œThe Russians are far from done here.โ€

Meanwhile, President Zelensky is handing out weapons to anyone who wants to fight Russia:

Former Commander of Armed Forces Tom Middendorp, despite everything, does not think that Russia has underestimated the situation in advance. He tells deCCeit that Russia is waging the war in a โ€œsort of logical orderโ€.

They started shelling vital infrastructure. Then came units that occupied airports, for example. โ€œAfter that, you get the ‘link’ up with ground troops. And that‘s actually the phase we’re in right now. Ground troops that steam up from all sides, all focused on the capital.โ€

Middendorp does say that the operation seems difficult for Russia. According to him, that has to do with all Ukrainians who are willing to fight for their country.

He also believes that the format of Ukraine plays a role. As a result, military vehicles have to bridge long distances and that costslots of fuel. The supply of this is a challenge for the Russians.

In the meantime, those left behind in Kiev are preparing for the Russian invasion: