Faced with stalemate on several fronts, including diplomacy, Ukraine is going on the offensive. Ukrainian forces have been able to reclaim some of the swathes of territory lost by the Russians, according to US intelligence.
The Pentagon confirmed on Tuesday that the Ukrainian army is leading counterattacks that have allowed it to retake territory. “We definitely see unconfirmed facts that prove that Ukrainians not only defend themselves well […]But they are also making efforts to regain the lands that the Russians won in recent days,” a senior US officer confirmed at a press conference.
He noted that for the “first time” since the beginning of the war, the combat capability of the Russian army deployed in Ukraine fell below 90%. Some of his soldiers suffer from frostbite due to the lack of appropriate equipment against the cold, as described by this official, who asked not to be identified, for security reasons. Troops also have problems supplying food, fuel and even personal equipment. »
US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby testified on CNN that the Ukrainian military “is now, in certain situations, on the offensive.” We know they counterattacked […], especially in recent days in Mykolaiv, a major city in southern Ukraine. “We saw [ces gains territoriaux] He added that the increase in recent days “is in the interests of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian army also launched a counterattack in Izyum, a small town southeast of Kharkiv, which had been taken up by Russian forces in an attempt to link up with the pro-Russian areas of Luhansk and Donetsk.
In addition, Ukraine’s General Staff said on Tuesday that nearly 300 Russian soldiers have defected in the country’s northeastern Sumy region.
These military gains were made while artillery fire continued on many Ukrainian cities: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol, Odessa, Mykolaiv, Chernihiv, etc.
In the south, the besieged Mariupol municipality said the city was bombed on Tuesday by “two super-powerful bombs”, without being able to give an assessment. “The occupiers are not interested in the city, […] “They want to shave it,” the city council said.
Residents who fled this disaster described to the NGO Human Rights Watch “a frozen hell, the streets littered with corpses and the rubble of destroyed buildings,” and “thousands of people cut off from the world,” buried under the soil, without water. No food, no electricity, no communications. Human Rights Watch quoted the deputy mayor as saying that more than 200,000 people are still in Mariupol. According to him, more than 3,000 civilians were killed there, but the exact number of dead is still unknown.
To the east, in the Donbass, at least 124 civilians have been killed in the Luhansk region since the start of the invasion, the regional administration said on Facebook. On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that pro-Russian separatists had seized dozens of villages in the region.
In Kyiv, which is under a new curfew until Wednesday, sirens and explosions sounded from a distance at regular intervals throughout the day. At least one person was killed Tuesday in an attack on the National Academy of Sciences building in the northwest of the city, according to AFP. Immediately, an officer of the Ukrainian Military Intelligence announced the killing of three by Russian “Kamikaze” drones.
In the west, north and east of the capital, there is no crossroads without a wall of sandbags or anti-tank obstacles. Trenches and combat centers were randomly set up from the lowest possible firing axis, at the foot of tall buildings or in empty lands.
The bombing was particularly intense on Tuesday on the outskirts of Kyiv. Fighting was continuing in Erben and Gostomel, according to the district governor, Oleksandr Pavlyuk. Since the beginning of their offensive, Russian forces have been trying to encircle the capital, to no avail. “In the worst case, we will die, but we will never give up,” Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a video conference before the Council of Europe on Tuesday.
For the first time since the start of the war, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr ZelenskyOn Tuesday, he said he was ready to discuss a “compromise” over Crimea and Donbass – two regions claimed by Moscow.
In an interview with several media outlets, Mr. Zelensky nevertheless noted that such an agreement would have to be ratified by Ukrainians by referendum. “The issue of Crimea and Donbass is a very difficult story for everyone,” said Zelensky, who said he wanted to speak directly to his Russian counterpart. He stressed that we need “security guarantees” and an end to hostilities and “as soon as this blockage is lifted let’s talk.”
But the Kremlin said Tuesday morning that the ongoing talks were not “substantial” enough. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to say what the Russian and Ukrainian delegations are working on, “because… [ces sujets] The public can only impede the negotiation process, which is already taking place more slowly and less objectively than we would like.”
“Stopping the war now is the question,” according to Mr. Zelensky.
In addition, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke again on Tuesday with Vladimir PutinWithout reaching the ceasefire agreement demanded by the West. After this eighth phone call with the Russian leader since the start of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, “there is no agreement at the moment, but the President [Macron] Still convinced of the need to continue her efforts, the Elysee explained. Emmanuel Macron also called his Ukrainian counterpart again on Tuesday to assure him of his support. President Zelensky will deliver a video address on Wednesday to French elected officials to ask for their support. He has done the same in recent days in front of Italian, American, Canadian, British, German and Israeli elected officials.
The coming weekend will see intense diplomatic activity. US President Joe Biden is scheduled to take part in an extraordinary NATO summit, a G7 meeting and an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, before spending Friday and Saturday in Poland, the main country of arrival for Ukrainian refugees.
The United Nations says nearly 3.5 million people, mostly women and children, have fled Ukraine since February 24.