Russia regroups after Ukraine setbacks; assault on Kiev seen in days

  • Biden calls for an end to normal trade with Russia-source
  • Satellite images show Russians redeploying north of Kiev
  • Britain says Russia could launch an assault on Kiev within days

LVIV, Ukraine, March 11 (Reuters) – Russian forces attacking Kiev are regrouping northwest of the Ukrainian capital, satellite images show, and Britain said on Friday that Moscow may now plan an assault on the city in a few days.

Russia’s main attack force in northern Ukraine has been stuck on a highway north of Kiev since the early days of the invasion, after failing in what Western nations see as an initial blitzkrieg plan against the capital.

But footage released by US private satellite firm Maxar showed armored units maneuvering in and through towns near Antonov Airport in Hostomel, northwest of Kyiv, which has been the scene of heavy fighting since that Russia landed paratroopers there in the early hours of the war.

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Other elements had repositioned near the small settlement of Lubyanka just to the north, with artillery howitzers towed into firing position, Maxar said.

“Russia is likely looking to reset and reposition its forces for renewed offensive activity in the coming days,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update. “This will probably include operations against the capital Kiev.”

The update says Russian ground forces are still making only limited progress, with logistical issues that have hampered their advance lingering and Ukrainian resistance strong.

The Ukrainian General Staff also said that the Russian forces had regrouped after suffering heavy losses.

For a seventh day in a row, Russia announced its intention to cease fire to allow civilians to leave the besieged southeastern port of Mariupol. Ukraine said it would try again to organize an evacuation of the city: “We hope it will work today,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said. Read more

All previous attempts to reach Mariupol have failed, with both sides accusing each other of breaking ceasefires, while hundreds of thousands of people are trapped under relentless shelling without food or water in the most severe humanitarian emergency of war.

Washington has declared Russian targeting of civilians in Mariupol a war crime. Moscow denies targeting civilians in what it calls a “special operation” to disarm and “denazify” Ukraine, which it says is going according to plan.

EU SUMMIT

European Union leaders were holding a summit at the Palace of Versailles in France, which is expected to be dominated by calls for more action to punish Russia, help Ukraine and deal with an influx of nearly 2.5 million refugees in just two weeks.

In the two weeks since the invasion, Western countries moved quickly to isolate Russia from world trade and the global financial system in a way never seen before in such a large economy.

In the latest move, sources said US President Joe Biden would ask the industrialized nations of the Group of Seven to strip Russia of normal trading rights, known as “most favored nation status”. This would allow Russian goods to be subject to new tariffs. Read more

Three airstrikes in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro on Friday killed at least one person, state emergency services said, adding that the strikes were close to a garden. children and a building.

While Russia’s advance on Kiev has been stalled and it has so far failed to capture any towns in northern or eastern Ukraine, it has made more substantial progress in the South. Moscow said Friday that its separatist allies in the southeast had captured the town of Volnovakha north of Mariupol.

The US Senate voted on Thursday to approve legislation providing $13.6 billion to help Ukraine fund munitions and other military supplies, as well as humanitarian support.

Russia is the world’s largest exporter of combined oil and gas. Its energy exports have been largely exempt from sanctions so far, despite Washington saying it would stop buying Russian crude.

The EU is also working on plans to phase out Russian oil, gas and coal imports, but Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a video posted on his Facebook page on Friday that the bloc would not impose restrictions. sanctions on Russian energy.

The information war has also resumed on social media, with Russia demanding that Washington end the “extremist activities” of Facebook owner Meta Platforms (FB.O), which has temporarily lifted a ban on calls for violence against the Russian army and leaders. Read more

The social media company will temporarily allow certain posts calling for the death of Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in countries including Russia, Ukraine and Poland, according to internal emails to its content moderators.

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Reporting from Reuters offices Writing by Peter Graff Editing by Tomasz Janowski

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