Russian offensive widens as US imposes new commerce sanctions


Navy analysts had been divided over whether or not the maneuvering by the Russian convoy signaled the upcoming begin of a siege of Kyiv or was simply an effort to disperse some automobiles to extra protected positions.

On the financial and political entrance, the U.S. and its allies moved to additional isolate and sanction the Kremlin. President Joe Biden introduced the U.S. will dramatically downgrade its commerce standing with Russia and likewise ban imports of Russian seafood, alcohol and diamonds. The transfer to revoke Russia’s “most favored nation” standing was taken in coordination with the European Union and Group of Seven international locations.

“The free world is coming collectively to confront Putin,” Biden mentioned.

On the bottom, the Kremlin’s forces gave the impression to be attempting to regroup and regain momentum after encountering heavier losses and stiffer resistance than anticipated over the previous two weeks. Britain’s Ministry of Protection mentioned Russia is attempting to “re-set and re-posture” its troops, gearing up for operations in opposition to Kyiv.

“It’s ugly already, however it’s going to worsen,” mentioned Nick Reynolds, a warfare analyst at Royal United Companies Institute, a British assume tank.

With the invasion in its sixteenth day, Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned there had been “sure constructive developments” in Russia-Ukraine talks, however gave no particulars.

For his half, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentioned Ukrainian forces had “reached a strategic turning level,” although he didn’t elaborate.

“It’s unimaginable to say what number of days we are going to nonetheless must free our land, however it’s doable to say that we are going to do it,” he mentioned through video from Kyiv.

He additionally mentioned authorities had been engaged on establishing 12 humanitarian corridors and attempting to make sure meals, medication and different fundamentals get to folks throughout the nation. 1000’s of civilians and troopers on each side are believed to have been killed within the invasion.

To this point, the Russians have made the largest advances on cities within the east and south — together with in Mariupol, the closely bombarded seaport the place civilians scrounged for meals and gasoline amid a harrowing 10-day-old siege — whereas struggling within the north and round Kyiv.

On Friday, Putin’s forces continued to launch airstrikes in city areas akin to Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol, whereas additionally pounding targets away from the principle battle zones.

Russia mentioned it used high-precision long-range weapons to place army airfields in Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk within the west “out of motion.” The assault on Lutsk killed 4 Ukrainian servicemen, the mayor mentioned.

Russian airstrikes additionally focused for the primary time Dnipro, a serious industrial hub within the east and Ukraine’s fourth-largest metropolis, with about 1 million folks. One individual was killed, Ukraine mentioned.

In pictures of the aftermath launched by Ukraine’s emergency company, firefighters doused a flaming constructing, and ash fell on bloodied rubble. Smoke billowed over shattered concrete the place buildings as soon as stood.

In one other doubtlessly ominous growth for Ukraine, new satellite tv for pc photographs appeared to indicate that the huge Russian convoy outdoors the capital had break up up and fanned out into cities and forests.

Howitzers had been towed into firing place, and armored models had been seen in cities close to the Antonov Airport north of town, in accordance with Maxar Applied sciences, the corporate that produced the photographs.

The 40-mile (64-kilometer) line of tanks and different automobiles had massed outdoors Kyiv early final week. However its advance had appeared to stall amid studies of meals and gasoline shortages, muddy roads and assaults by Ukrainian troops with anti-tank missiles.

Mathieu Boulegue, a researcher on the London assume tank Chatham Home, mentioned the redeployment means the long-awaited battle for Kyiv is simply hours or days away. He predicted a drawn-out siege, not a right away storming of town.

“That is going to be a really lengthy battle of attrition. That is going to be an atrociously casualty-heavy battle and a siege, the likes of which we’ve hardly ever seen in fashionable historical past,” Boulegue mentioned.

However a senior American protection official mentioned that whereas components of the convoy have damaged off and moved to the tree line, the U.S. believes these are efforts to cover and higher defend the automobiles, that are largely for provides.

The official, who spoke on situation of anonymity to explain the U.S. army evaluation, mentioned that the convoy hadn’t made any substantial progress towards town and that the automobiles’ strikes weren’t a part of a tactical effort to advance on Kyiv.

Nonetheless, the official mentioned different forces from the northeast had moved nearer to Kyiv and had been about 20 to 30 kilometers (12 to 19 miles) east of town heart.

Repeated rounds of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine have taken place alongside the Belarus border, and the 2 international locations’ overseas ministers held talks on Thursday with no obvious progress, whereas varied third international locations have additionally made makes an attempt to dealer a cease to the combating.

A Western official, talking on situation of anonymity to debate intelligence issues, mentioned the truth that negotiations are happening so early within the combating “may communicate to Russian considerations” in regards to the progress of the warfare.

In Syria, Russia backed the federal government in imposing lengthy, brutal sieges of opposition-held cities, wreaking heavy destruction and inflicting widespread civilian casualties. That historical past, together with the siege of Mariupol, has raised fears of comparable bloodshed in Ukraine.

Temperatures sank beneath freezing throughout most of Ukraine and had been forecast to hit -13 levels Celsius (8 Fahrenheit) within the japanese metropolis of Kharkiv, which has come below heavy bombardment.

About 400 house buildings in Kharkiv misplaced warmth, and Mayor Ihor Terekhov appealed to remaining residents to descend into the subway or different underground shelters the place blankets and sizzling meals had been being distributed.

The bombardment continued in Mariupol, the place a lethal strike on a maternity hospital this week sparked worldwide outrage and war-crime allegations.

Repeated makes an attempt to ship in meals and medication and evacuate civilians from town of 430,000 have been thwarted by continued assaults, and Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk put the variety of lifeless there at greater than 1,300.

Some 2.5 million folks have fled Ukraine because the invasion started, in accordance with the United Nations.

The United Nations’ political chief mentioned the U.N. has acquired credible studies that Russian forces are utilizing cluster bombs in Ukraine, together with in populated areas. Cluster bombs scatter “bomblets” over vast areas. Their use in opposition to civilians is prohibited below worldwide regulation.


Related Press journalists Felipe Dana and Andrew Drake in Kyiv, Ukraine, together with different reporters around the globe contributed.


Observe the AP’s protection of the Ukraine disaster at

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.