Update Pentagon chief: Putin abandons plans to seize Kiev
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin has abandoned his victory over Kiev following the defeat of his forces by the Ukrainian military.
“Putin thought he could capture Ukraine very quickly and capture this capital very quickly. He made a mistake. I think he is abandoning his attempt to capture the capital and focusing on the south and east of the country,” Lloyd said. At the U.S. Senate hearing.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said on Wednesday that Putin had “achieved exactly zero in his goals within Ukraine. He did not capture Kiev. He did not overthrow the government. He did not eliminate Ukraine as a national state.”
The U.S. upgrade has sent more than 12,000 anti-armor systems, 1,400 anti-aircraft systems and “hundreds” of drones to Ukraine, the Biden administration said in a statement Thursday night.
“It’s very scary. Most affected by the Russian invaders,” Zhelensky said. The Ukrainian president said similar atrocities had taken place in Mariupol.
“What will happen when the world finds out the whole truth about what the Russian military did in Mariupol? There, on almost every street, the world saw the withdrawal of Russian troops in Pucha and other cities in the Kiev region. The same atrocities, the same heinous crimes,” he said.
Zhelensky said that every crime in Ukraine will be investigated and every robber, rapist and murderer will be found.
The Kremlin recognizes significant troop losses
Dmitry Pesco was asked on Sky News that the war was “disgraceful” as Russia withdrew from the capital, lost thousands of soldiers and President Volodymyr Zhelensky was still in power.
Peskov called it a “misunderstanding” of what had happened.
But when asked if Russia had lost thousands of troops, he said: “Yes, we have significant losses of troops, which is a great tragedy for us.”
He said the withdrawal from the Kiev region and the northern city of Chernivtsi was a “benevolent act” to “raise tensions” during the peace talks.
In an interview, Peskov reiterated Russia’s intentions, describing it as a “special military operation”, saying that Ukraine had become “anti-Russian” and that “Russia was” very tense “as NATO began to approach our borders.”
Russia has previously said 1,351 soldiers were killed. The full death toll is unknown, but a NATO official put the death toll in the US press at 7,000 to 15,000, with similar estimates in the United States.
- The Kremlin acknowledged that it had suffered “significant casualties” from the invasion of Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he hoped the besieged city of Mariupol would soon be “liberated by nationalist battalions”.
- A Russian airstrike on a railway station near the Parvinkov station in the Donetsk region has reportedly blocked the departure of three escape trains. According to the Ukrainian news agency Hromadske, thousands of passengers stranded at the station have to be evacuated by train.
- Ukraine’s Attorney General Irina Venedikova said 26 bodies had been found under two buildings in the town of Borodianka, 25 km west of Pucha.
- Ukraine is preparing for a new Russian offensive in its eastern part, while Russian forces are retreating from the devastated suburbs of Kiev and intensifying their offensive in the Donbass region.
- Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said more than 100,000 people should be evacuated from the city. Speaking on national television, he described the situation in the Ukrainian port city as a humanitarian catastrophe.
- The UN General Assembly has voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council over reports of “grave and systematic human rights violations and abuses” by Russian troops.
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