Russian forces have continued to make some additional advances over the last 24 hours, a senior US defense official told reporters on Friday.
Russian forces that are the closest to Kyiv, about 15 kilometers (about 9 miles) outside of the city center, have not moved any closer since yesterday, the official said.
There are two other groups of Russian forces outside of Kyiv that are potentially moving towards Kyiv. To the north of Kyiv, a group of Russian forces are “somewhere between 20 and 30 kilometers” (or between more than 12 and 18 miles) from Kyiv’s city center. This group has “moved closer” to Kyiv over the last 24 hours, the official said.
A separate group of Russian forces closer to Sumy, to the east of Kyiv, have stalled and are repositioning around Sumy, the official said.
“We think many of those forces have in fact repositioned back to the vicinity of Sumy. It is unclear to us why they did this. It could be as benign as they are making progress on that northern leg, and they didn’t feel they needed another leg going, or they’re going to combine what’s left with that southernmost leg, with the northernmost leg, it could be just that benign, we just don’t know,” the official said.
Chernihiv, another Ukrainian city, remains isolated. Russian forces are “right outside the city,” and there is “obviously some fighting in the city,” but the US does not assess that Russian forces have “moved beyond Chernihiv,” the official said.
“They’re still in and around Chernihiv, and again we assess Chernihiv is isolated, and under increasing pressure,” the official said.
In Kharkiv, Russian forces are “on the outskirsts” of the city,” the official said. The US is seeing reports of internet outages in the city, “which seems to be part of the playbook,” the official said, but there’s still “a lot of fighting there.”
“They haven’t taken Kharkiv, it’s being well-defended but they are closing in on it if you will from a geographic perspective,” the official said.
The southern city of Mariupol is under “increasing pressure,” the official said.
“Mariupol is also being defended, they’re fighting back, and we continue to see heavy bombardment there as the Russians try to increase their pressure,” the official said.
The US continues to assess that Russian forces have captured Kherson.
In Mykolaiv, Russian forces have not taken the city yet but it is coming under “increasing pressure,” the official said.
“We’ve observed the Ukrainians are continuing to defend the city, and the Russians are just outside the city, again mostly to the northeast, so again not a lot of change there from yesterday, but continues to be heavily fought over,” the official said.