Andrew Neil highlights key attacks from Ukraine keeping Russian troops scrambling
Ukraine: Volodymyr Zelenskyy sends message to Russian soldiers
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As fighting escalated between Ukrainian forces and Russian troops following Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade the country in the early hours of Thursday morning, the Scottish journalist noted that Ukraine’s armed forces were deploying a tactic to weaken their enemy. Mr Neil said that Ukraine forces, who are being backed by growing numbers of citizens who have taken up arms to defend the country, were attacking Russian supply lines to stall troops.
Mr Neil tweeted: “Ukraine’s armed forces, backed by growing ranks of citizen soldiers, are targeting Russian supply lines, aiming to deprive the advancing forces of “timely replenishment of fuel and ammunition.”
There were reports on Saturday night that Russian forces were encountering “stiffer than expected” resistance from the Ukrainian military as well as difficulty supplying its forces.
A statement released on Saturday night by Britain’s Ministry of Defence said that Russia was facing strong resistance from Ukraine and was making slower progress than expected.
The MoD intelligence update read: “Russian forces are not making the progress they had planned. They are suffering from logistical challenges and strong Ukrainian resistance.
It said Russian forces were “sustaining casualties and a number of Russian troops have been taken prisoner by Ukrainian forces.”
It added: “The Russian government has reportedly restricted access to a number of social media platforms in a probable attempt to conceal details regarding the situation in Ukraine from their own people.”
Russia is suffering heavier losses on the battlefield than expected, according to reports, while Ukrainian air defences still have control of the airspace, although officials have cautioned the picture on the battlefield could change very quickly as Russian troops keep up their assault.
Russian forces have not yet taken control of any Ukrainian cities while they moved into towns and cities across the country including the capital Kyiv.
Ukrainian armed forces are battling Russian troops on the streets of Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv after missiles rained down overnight on Saturday, damaging buildings and killing one elderly woman.
Russian troops also blew up a natural gas pipeline nearby, according to a Ukrainian state communications agency.
But officials have reported that Russia is having some difficulty keeping its forces supplied with fuel and ammunition which is hampering its progress.
A senior US official told CNN that Russia anticipated a swift victory and may have failed to plan for sufficient resupply.
He said supply lines are a “definite vulnerability”.
A NATO official said that the Russian troops were experiencing unanticipated problems.
Referring to the military alliance’s latest intelligence on the conflict, he said: “They are having problems.
“They lack diesel, they are proceeding way too slow and morale is obviously an issue.”
When asked if Russia would redouble its efforts, the NATO official said they had no choice:
He said: “They are way behind schedule.”
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“This is getting out of hand for them, every additional day is very painful.”
However, he warned that Russian forces still greatly outnumber Ukrainian forces and their slow advance across the country may be partly due to the size of the force.
Russia has claimed its slow advance was to allow time for negotiations including with the Ukrainian government.
The Russian Ministry of Defence said its troops had been ordered to resume their offensive “in all directions” on Saturday after a suspension was ordered for negotiations with the Ukrainian government which were later abandoned.
The fighting across Ukraine has resulted in at least 240 civilian casualties, including 64 deaths, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHCR).
It added that damage to homes and critical infrastructure has left hundreds of people without access to water and electricity.
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