The US continues to see Russian forces face “stiff resistance” and see their momentum slow in the northern part of Ukraine, while Russians are having a “little bit more success” in the south, a senior US defense official told reporters on Sunday, citing fuel shortages and logistical issues.
The US is seeing the most resistance in the Russian advance on the city of Kharkiv, the official said. The Russians are “facing some logistics challenges as well on their advance down north to Kyiv,” the official added.
The official noted that the Russians would learn from their logistical issues and find ways to overcome them.
Russian forces remain 30 kilometers, or approximately 19 miles, outside Kyiv’s city center, according to the official. They were in that same position 24 hours earlier, indicating that the Russian military has not made appreciable gains in its invasion of Ukraine from the north in that time.
There is some fighting inside Kyiv, which the US believes is the Ukrainians fighting with Russian reconnaissance elements in the city, the official said.
The US still has no indication that the Russian military has taken control of any Ukrainian city, the official said, but that continues to be Russia’s goal.
In the south, Russian forces that were part of an amphibious assault on Friday on the Sea of Azov, which put navy infantrymen ashore there, have now “moved up towards Mariupol’,” the offfical said.
The airspace over Ukraine is still contested, the official added.
“That means that the Ukrainians are still using both aircraft and their own air and missile defense systems which we believe are still intact and still viable, though they have been, as I said yesterday, there’s been some degradation by the Russians,” the official said.
The US is also seeing preparations for a potential siege of Chernihiv, a city approximately 80 miles north-northeast of Kyiv on the Belarussian border.
The concern comes from observations of increased rocket attacks inside the city and the Russian attempt to surround the city.
“It remains to be seen if that’s exactly what they’re going to end up doing, but the indications are enough in terms of how they’re positioning their forces around the city,” the official said.