What is in store for Ukrainians in the surrounding cities?

More and more encircled cities in Ukraine are preparing for a bloody war in the city. There seems to be a major attack on the capital Kiev imminent. How the battle continues depends on the degree of resistance.

Ukrainians are expected to continue to defend the city fanatically, says Anthony King, professor of war studies. โ€œIf the Ukrainians keep fighting, we‘re going to face some terrible weeks.โ€

In order to control a city such as Kharkiv and Kiev, โ€œone hundred percent air dominanceโ€ is required, according to King. According to him, the Russians will then deploy a large amount of aircraft and drones. They then combine that with a ground offensive. โ€œA slow ground offensive, with lots of guns, lots of tanks and self-propelled guns. The level of destruction is quite disturbing.โ€

In Kharkiv, several missiles hit. The center before and after the shelling:

According to Mart de Kruif, former commander Land Forces, sooner or later there will be a point that the Russians will have to enter Kiev. โ€œThe first phase is that you try to disable goals remotely. If that doesn’t work, you‘ll have to go into town. The Russians will try to avoid that. A war in cities is completely uncluttered. The enemy can sit in the sewer, in a flat, when he’s gone, he can suddenly resurface. It‘s not a linear fight. It eats ammunition, it’s physically heavy and it eats people.โ€

According to King, the fear that major cities such as Kiev and Kharkov are facing similar scenarios such as during heavy, long, bloody battles in Aleppo (2012) and Mosul (2016). โ€œIn these battles there were seriously fighting defenders. There were an extreme number of gunfights. The destruction and the number of civilian deaths is terrible.โ€

The last time a similar battle was fought in Europe, which was during siege of Sarajevo in the early 90s. โ€œThere are similarities. During the siege in Sarajevo, Serbian troops subjected the city to bombing, sniper fire and small arms for months. Large parts of the city were damaged and tens of thousands of civilian deaths were killed.โ€

King suspects that the situation in Kiev could get even worse where possible: โ€œThe Russian forces are incomparably more powerful than the Serbian forces that surrounded Sarajevo in the 1990s. In addition, the Russians probably not only want to besieged, but actually want to take over the city.โ€

Fighting in Kiev is expected to last months, says King. Three million people live in the city. It is also a huge area. โ€œYou have to attack from the west and the north, because the city is closed on the other sides by a river. The city is therefore easy to defend. The Russians invaded Ukraine with about 150,000 men. If they want to take Kiev, they need about a third. The pace of their operations is likely to be quite slow.โ€

According to De Kruif, the question is whether you can surround the city of Kiev. โ€œYou can only try to control the big roads. You can‘t close such a city, you can always get in and out of it on foot.โ€

The situation in Ukraine:

At the moment it is clear that a logistics convoy is on its way to the city, with all the necessary stock. โ€œAmmunition, water and spare parts. The progress of this is not an indication of the success of the Russians. That convoy can’t get too close to Kiev right now. It is clear that an area is going on.โ€

Disastrous

For the inhabitants of Kharkiv and Kiev, the consequences of a Russian city invasion will be disastrous, King underlines. The more intense the resistance, the heavier and longer-lasting the battles, according to him, will be.

โ€œAlready, a lot of people are on the run. For those who stay, as some citizens in Aleppo and Mosul did, the situation will be terrible. Many civilians will be killed. There is a shortage of food and water.โ€

โ€œWe are in the 21st century. We consider ourselves to be modern and sophisticated in some way. But we are looking at a scenario that takes us back to antiquity and to medieval Europe, in terms of the amount of suffering in this kind of fighting.โ€

In Kiev, the TV tower was hit earlier this week in a Russian attack: