Ukraine | war map

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The explosions have returned this Monday to the cities of Kiev and Kharkov, in the fifth day of the Russian war against Ukraine. During the weekend the attacks have continued, although there have been no major advances. Urban warfare continued in the northwest of the Ukrainian capital and there were attacks on the direct accesses to both banks of the Dnipro river.

The fighting therefore continues in the capital and the Russian troops entered the city of Kharkov for the first time this Sunday 27. But in both cases they have not yet managed to gain control. According to the analysis of the Institute for War Studies, the Russian army made an “operational pause” in the last hours.

The balance of forces could change quickly if the Army recalibrates its attack after the ineffectiveness of the first few days. It is the reading that the same Institute, which recalls the “overwhelming advantage” of Russia, whose army quadruples the Ukrainian in numbers.

The Russian Ministry of Defense assures that its troops have taken control of the cities of Berdyansk and Enerhodar and from the area around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine, Reuters reports. Ukraine, however, has denied that they have control of the plant.

Sunday, February 27: the fighting intensifies in the city of Kharkov

On the fourth day of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the fighting has intensified in the city of Kharkov, the second most populous in the country, where a column of Russian vehicles has penetrated to the center of the city. As in Kiev, Russians and Ukrainians face each other through the deserted streets -the population remains locked up in their houses-, As gunshots and explosions ring out from time to time. The governor of the Kharkov region, Oleg Sinegubov, has stated in a message through a social network and collected by AFP that there had been “an incursion of light vehicles of the Russian enemy in the city of Kharkov, including its central part”, although he assured that they had rejected the Russians. As reported by the official Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, and reported by Reuters, Russian troops have blown up a gas pipeline in the region.

On Kyivwhere an extended curfew is in force from 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon to 8:00 a.m. in the morning, the day dawned sunny and relatively calm, after a night of intense fighting, as the mayor of the city, Vitali Klitschko, has pointed out: “The situation is calm and totally under the control of the Ukrainian army and the territorial defense. During the night, there have been several clashes with subversive groups”, alluding to Russian troops. According to AFP, the noise of shelling and airstrikes has decreased significantly by mid-dawn and Ukrainian soldiers are patrolling on alert. What’s more, the battle continues 30 kilometers southwest of the capital, where Russians and Ukrainians are vying for control of the Vassylkiv airbase. Russia has blown up an oil warehouse, causing a huge fire that firefighters cannot access to put out.

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At facing eastthe pro-Russian militias from Donbas have advanced half a hundred kilometers with the support of Russian troops, according to the war report of the spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense, Igor Konashénkov. “During the last day the forces of the Lugansk People’s Republic, with the support of the fire of the Russian Armed Forces, successfully advanced and took control of the towns of Novoajtirka, Smolyaninovo, Luhanska. Since the beginning of the operation they advanced 52 kilometers” , has explained. According to Konashenkov, the Donetsk forces advanced 12 kilometers and took the towns of Pavlopol and Pischevik. In addition, the pro-Russian militias in Lugansk have denounced that a Ukrainian missile has exploded an oil terminal in Rovenky.

Russia has not reported, for the moment, any offensive in Kiev and limits itself to detailing its advances in the east and the southern ukraine, where it attacks from the Crimean peninsula. On this last front, the Russian spokesman assured that Russian troops have besieged the cities of Kherson and Beryansk and that they have taken the Genichevsk control and Chernobayevka airfieldnext to Jershon.

Saturday, February 26: fighting in the streets of Kiev

Kyiv becomes the main scene of the clashes of the war in Ukraine, three days after Russian troops invaded Ukrainian territory. The country’s capital endures intense bombardment and the fighting continues street to street, without the Ukrainian soldiers giving up their positions, for the time being. The mayor of the city, Vitali Klitschko, assures in a video broadcast on Saturday morning and collected by AFP that the night has been “difficult” and that in the municipality there are already Russian “sabotage units”, but not units regular.

The Russian forces try to enter the Ukrainian capital from the north and northeast, with troops who entered Ukraine from neighboring Belarus. The artillery shots resound sporadically and a residential building has been hit by a projectile in the west, as reported by the Ukrainian State Emergency Service in a statement, without at the moment there being a balance of possible victims. And, during the night, the authorities have confirmed a Russian attack on a power plant in the Troieshchyna neighborhoodnortheast of the capital.

The Ukrainian military has claimed on Facebook having destroyed a column of five Russian military vehicles, including a tank, on Kiev’s Victory Avenue. Also, according to the Ukrainian authorities, there is fighting about 30 kilometers southwest of the city, where the Russians “try to drop their paratroopers.”

In the rest of the country, clashes also continue. The Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenski, has assured that the confrontations persist in places like Sumy, Járkov and Charnígov, among other zones. And in Donbas, the army has lost control of Stanitsia Luganska, Krymske and Markivka, according to the official Ukrainian agency UNIAN, citing the State Administration of the Lugansk region. For its part, Russia, which has not recognized any offensive on Kiev, has launched 821 missiles during the early hours of Saturday against Ukrainian targets, as detailed by the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, who also has ensured the Russian forces have taken the city of Melitopollocated in the south.

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Regarding the balance of victims, Ukraine has acknowledged at least 198 dead since the beginning of the invasion“Unfortunately, according to operational data, we have 198 dead, including three children, and 1,115 injured, 33 of whom are minors,” Ukraine’s Minister of Health, Víktor Liashkó, has indicated on social networks, according to Efe. For its part, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense affirms that during the last day they managed to shoot down 14 planes and eight helicopters, in addition to destroying 102 tanks and 536 armored vehicles; According to his estimate, the Russians would have lost more than 3,000 soldiers in combat, although Moscow has not offered any figure.

Friday, February 25: Russian troops reach Kiev

On the second day of the Russian war in UkraineRussian troops have reached Kyiv. Intense bombardments took place in the capital during the early morning and the morning, with two strong explosions in the center of the city. “Russian tanks are advancing in the direction of Kiev, but in the vicinity of Ivankiv a fight broke out. Ukrainian forces blew up a bridge to stop the Russian column,” reported the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

In the meantime, attacks continue in other parts of the country. The fighting continues with Russian troops advancing on the different fronts from which they had attacked on Thursday: north from Belarus; east, from Russia and the Donbass region; and south, from the Crimea.

After the troops conquered the Chernobyl nuclear plant, the fighting is concentrated around the capital. Putin’s goal, according to US and Ukrainian officials, would be to take Kiev to overthrow the government.

Thursday, February 24: invasion by land, sea and air

The Russian invasion ordered by President Vladimir Putin began at dawn on Thursday, February 24, from several fronts: from the north, crossing the border with Belarus; to the east, through the city of Kharkov; to the east, from the Donbas region, the self-proclaimed republics of Lugansk and Donetsk, which Putin recognized as independent on Monday; and to the south, from the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014, and through the port of Odessa.

The following satellite image, taken by Planet Labs, shows the smoke after the bombing at the Chuguev air base, outside Kharkov.

Air raids and bombing began just before dawn, followed by offensives on the ground, targeting cities, airports and military infrastructure throughout the country. Putin called it a “special military operation” without risk to “the peaceful population.” From the first day of the attack, Russia bombed the kiev airportas confirmed by a TVE team posted there.

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The Russian military claims that they use high-precision weapons against Ukrainian military infrastructures, anti-aircraft batteries and air bases. “According to intelligence data, the units and soldiers of the Ukrainian armed forces are massively abandoning their positions,” said the Ministry of Defense, which emphasizes that the places where the Ukrainian forces lay down their weapons are not subjected to attacks.

President Zelensky has asked the top leaders of the international community for help in creating a “anti-Putin coalition” and stop the attack on your country initiated by Putin.

The Russian military escalation on the border with Ukraine

In the weeks before the invasion, the international community had seen the intensifying movement of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border. A movement that had begun to be seen months before.

The maps below show how the situation around Ukraine in the last monthbefore the attack: Russian troop movements in different border areas and violations of the Minsk treaty reported by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the Donbas region have been added to the permanent deployments.

The Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, assured on Wednesday the 24th that Russia had everything ready to launch an invasion in Ukraine and could do so that same night. The imminent denouement was foreseen after tensions between Kiev and Moscow increased in Novemberwhen Russia stationed tens of thousands of troops near the Ukrainian border, triggering alarms in Ukraine and the West, which denounced the preparations for an invasion.

The deployment in the previous weeks served to have the necessary components for a military operationr. Troops in the north allowed a quick entry into the capital, while forces in the Black Sea threatened the south of the country.

A hole in the air space

Airlines have suspended their flights over Ukraine’s airspace due to the risk of an unintentional shoot-down or a cyber attack against air traffic control. On Wednesday, Safe Airspace, an organization that monitors security over conflict zones, warned of this risk.

Russia closed part of the airspace in Rostov, east of its border with Ukraine, and in this country the airports of Dnipro, Kharkov and Zaporizhia. The United States, Italy, Canada, France and the United Kingdom have advised their airlines to avoid airspace over eastern Ukraine and Crimea, short of an outright ban.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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