Russia is signaling war targets again, with the Ukrainians advancing near Kiev

  • Russian forces have been stationed at the gates of Kiev for several weeks
  • Biden to evaluate the response to refugees in Poland
  • China’s Sinopec stops the debate on investments

Pucha / LVV, Ukraine, March 25 (Reuters) – Moscow on Friday signaled that it would reduce its aspirations in Ukraine to focus on territory claimed by pro-Russian separatists as Ukrainian forces continue their offensive to retake cities in the capital’s suburbs. Kiev

As the first major indication that Western sanctions on Moscow are affecting investment from China, the state-run Synobek Group, Asia’s largest oil refiner, halted efforts to market petrochemicals and Russian gas. read more

Within a month of launching their invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops had failed to capture any major city. Their attack met with fierce opposition from the forces of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and stopped at the gates of Kiev.

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The Russians are instead bombing and encircling cities, dumping waste in residential areas and evicting a quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million people from their homes.

More than 3.7 million of them have fled abroad, half to Poland, US President Joe Biden visited on Friday.

Battlefields near Kiev have been paralyzed for weeks, with two main Russian armored columns to the northwest and east of the capital. The British intelligence report describes the Ukrainian counter-attack that pushed the Russians back in the east.

“Ukrainian counter-attacks, and the retreat of Russian forces on exaggerated supply lines, have allowed Ukraine to recapture cities and defenses 35 km east of Kiev,” the report said. Britain has provided arms and military training to Ukraine.

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In a statement that appeared to indicate more limited targets, the Russian Defense Ministry said the first phase of its operation was largely complete and focused on “liberating” the secluded eastern Donbass region. read more

“The combat capability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has been significantly reduced, which makes it possible to focus our main efforts on achieving the liberation of Donbass, the main target,” said Sergei Rutskoy, chief of staff of the Russian Civil Service. Directorate of Operations.

‘Unprepared troops’

A senior diplomatic source in Moscow described the announcement as a prelude to an ascent.

“Their combat objectives were much wider than the Donbass, so their force was divided by poorly coordinated attacks by unprepared troops on several fronts,” the source said. read more

The United Nations says 1,081 civilians have been killed and 1,707 injured in Ukraine since the invasion.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said 1,351 Russian soldiers had been killed and 3,825 wounded, according to the Interfax news agency. Ukraine says 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed.

Volodymyr Borysenko, mayor of Boryspol, an eastern suburb where Kyiv’s main airport is located, said 20,000 civilians had evacuated the area and responded to calls for evacuation in the face of Ukrainian troops’ counter-attack. He said Ukrainian forces had recaptured a nearby village the previous day and would have been stopped if pushed to avoid endangering civilians.

At another important point outside Kiev, northwest of the capital, Ukrainian forces are trying to encircle Russian troops in the suburbs of Irbin, Pucha and Hostomல்l.

In Pucha, 25 km (15 miles) northwest of Kiev, a small group of Ukrainian troops armed with anti-tank missiles were digging fox holes. Andrei told Reuters he made the list as soon as the invasion began.

“I told my wife to grab the kids and hide in the basement. I went to the draft station and went straight to my section,” he said.

Moscow calls its operations in Ukraine a “special military operation” to militarize and “reduce” Ukraine. Ukraine and the West say Putin has launched an unprovoked war of aggression.

Unable to capture the cities, Russia attacked them with artillery and air strikes.

The eastern port of Mariupol, a city of 400,000 people, has been badly affected. It is the largest city under Ukrainian control and demands that Russia surrender to the separatists.

Tens of thousands of people are still believed to be trapped in food, electricity or heat, while the city around them has been reduced to rubble.

Mass Grave Reports

The Mariupol City Council first estimated the death toll from a bomb blast at the main theater on March 16, with witnesses now claiming that 300 of the hundreds who took refuge in the basement were killed. Russia denies the allegations.

The United Nations says it is investigating reports of mass graves inside Mariupol, which has at least 200 bodies.

The cities of Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumi in the east also bore the brunt of the devastating bombings. Its governor said Chernihiv was effectively surrounded by Russian forces.

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In Kharkiv, authorities said six people were killed when a shell was thrown at an aid base. The video shows a bomb blast in a parking lot where a large number of people were standing in line. Reuters confirmed that the shooting took place outside a supermarket in Kharkiv.

Western sanctions have isolated Russia from global trade and have never been so large before. Russia has warned that billing in rubles for natural gas exports to Europe, which it relies heavily on, will be just a few days away, leaving buyers wondering how to get their hands on the currency. read more

China is the largest power that has not condemned Russia’s invasion.

Reuters reports that Sinopec has suspended discussions on investments worth $ 500 million as the first definite sign that sanctions are interfering with trade between Moscow and Beijing.

Beijing has insisted on maintaining trade ties. But behind the scenes, there is pressure on Chinese companies to tread carefully.

“Companies will strictly adhere to Beijing’s foreign policy in this crisis,” said a Chinese state oil company executive. “There is no room for companies to make any effort based on the new investment.”

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Reuters press release from Mariupol, edited by Natalia Ginettes in Lviv and Reuters consoles around the world by Peter Groff and Nick McPhee, by Angus Maxwan and Andrew Cavthorn

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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