More than four days into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the smaller country’s defenders continue to frustrate Russian attempts on its major cities.
Ukraine retains control of capital Kyiv and its second-biggest city, Kharkiv, despite heavy fighting, according to the latest intelligence update from the U.K. Defence Ministry.
“Russian forces are continuing to advance into Ukraine from multiple axis but are continuing to be met with stiff resistance from the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” the ministry said.
NBC News reported that Mykola Povoroznyk, Kyiv’s first deputy head of administration, said “The situation in Kyiv is calm, the capital is completely controlled by the Ukrainian army and defense.”
Individual military accounts are difficult to confirm as much of Ukraine remains inaccessible and the situation on the ground shifts constantly.
Heavy fighting was taking place around Kharkiv, according to the U.K. Defence Ministry, Kharkiv’s regional governor, and Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Ukrainian defenders also maintain their hold on Kherson, a third major city targeted by Moscow planners, a senior U.S. Defense official said Sunday on condition of anonymity.
Russian advances were being slowed by “fuel and logistics shortages, especially in Kharkiv, but also on the advance to Kyiv,” the Defense official said.
Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine last week as the UN Security Council met in emergency session to head off war using diplomatic means.
New economic measures against Russia, from Western corporations as well as governments, pile up by the day.
As U.S. intelligence predicted the invasion in the weeks prior to Putin ordering it, the Russian president repeatedly demanded guarantees that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO.
“Mr. Putin says he doesn’t want a strong NATO on his western flank,” said U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in a statement from the Pentagon on Sunday night ET. “He’s getting exactly that.”