Russian progress on Kyiv has ‘stalled’ with units ‘surrendering without a fight’, US official says

Defence official says some Russian units are running out of food and fuel and are ‘surrendering without a fight’

Rachel Sharp
Tuesday 01 March 2022 17:48 GMT
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky calls attack on Kharkiv 'a military crime'
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Russia’s assault on Kyiv has “stalled” with some units “surrendering without a fight” to Ukrainian troops, according to a senior US defence official.

The official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity on Tuesday, said that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces have come up against several logistical issues as they continue to struggle to take control of the Ukrainian capital.

Some units are running out of food and fuel while there are also challenges of a lack of experience among troops who never even knew they were being sent into combat, the official said.

As a result, the advance on the capital remains stuck “where it was yesterday” with some troops said to be surrendering to the Ukrainian military and civilians who have fought back to defend their country.

“You’ve seen it on the ground, where units are surrendering, sometimes without a fight,” the official said.

The official said that Russian forces are showing some signs of “risk averse behaviour” among troops as the invasion continues into its sixth day.

“There has been in the last six days evidence of a certain risk averse behaviour by the Russian military,” the official said, according to CNN.

“And they’ve got, a lot of these soldiers are conscripts, never been in combat before, some of whom we believe weren’t even told they were going to be in combat.

“So we’re just seeing evidence of a bit of risk aversion.”

Mr Putin is likely “regrouping, rethinking, reevaluating” Russia’s attack on Kyiv, the official said, warning that Moscow may “change their tactics” before continuing its attempt to take control of the city.

“One reason why things appear to be stalled north of Kyiv is that the Russians themselves are regrouping and rethinking and trying to adjust to the challenges that they’ve had,” the official said.

“They will regroup, they will adjust, they will change their tactics.”

The comments came as Russia warned Ukrainians to leave their homes in Kyiv on Tuesday as it planned to strike targets in the capital.

In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, the Russian Defence Ministry said it was preparing a series of “high-precision strikes” in Kyiv.

A blast is seen in the TV tower, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Kiev, Ukraine 1 March 2022.
A blast is seen in the TV tower, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Kiev, Ukraine 1 March 2022. (REUTERS)

Soon after, a Russian airstrike on the capital left five people dead and damaged the Kyiv TV tower in the Shevchenkivsky district of the capital, plunging television channels off air.

Russian forces have increasingly attacked civilian sites in recent days with a preschool among the places bombed.

Ukraine’s Defence Ministry said on Twitter on Monday that it would pay Russian soldiers if they willingly surrendered to Ukrainian troops.

“We offer Russian soldiers a choice: to die in an unjust war, or full amnesty and 5 million rubles of compensation if they put down their guns and voluntarily surrender to prison,” the ministry said in a statement.

The offer came as Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya shared tragic text messages said to be sent by a Russian soldier to his mother moments before he died in combat revealing he had been told troops would be “welcomed” by Ukrainians.

“I’m scared, we’re hitting everyone, even civilians,” the soldier wrote in Russian.

“We had been told that people would welcome us here but they jump under our vehicles, not letting us pass. They call us fascists. Mom, it’s so hard.”

He added: “We were told that [civilians] would welcome us.”

Reuters contributed reporting.

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