Ukraine: Russia fails to establish clear 'command and control'
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US officials have stated that some of Putin’s forces have been suffering from frostbite, rendering them unable to fight, all as the Ukrainians perform devastating hit-and-run attacks. Fears are rising that Putin may employ chemical weapons out of desperation as he has his “back against the wall”, according to US President Joe Biden.
Among the key areas being fought over is the strategically important town of Makariv, west of Kyiv.
After fierce fighting, the Ukrainian flag is once again flying over the city. This allows Ukraine to control a crucial highway, holding back Russian troops from surrounding Kyiv.
Meanwhile, a senior US defence official said the city of Izyum had seen “significant fighting”. Ukrainian forces are fighting hard to regain the city after it was seized by Putin’s forces last week.
Doing so would counter Russia’s ability to block off Ukrainian troops in the East. The brutal siege of Mariupol also continues.
A Russian patrol boat and electronic warfare complex have been destroyed by Ukraine.Civilians fleeing the city described relentless bombardments and horrific scenes. Human Rights Watch described the centre of the city as a “freezing hellscape littered with dead bodies”.
The city is seen as a key target for Russia, as capturing it would enable them to secure a land corridor between Crimea and Donbass.
As the city is also a key trade hub, by seizing it Russia would be able to further squeeze the Ukrainian economy.
In the south, Russian forces trying to take Mykolaiv were forced to reposition outside after meeting intense Ukrainian resistance.
The city represents a key position on the route of Russian troops moving from Crimea towards Odesa – a major Black Sea port.
A senior US defence official said: “They [the Ukrainians] are now able and willing to take back territory the Russians have taken. It’s notable.
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“Not only are the Ukrainians defending well, they’re making efforts to take back territory the Russians have taken in recent days.
“Some of their [Russia’s] soldiers are suffering from frostbite because they lack the appropriate cold weather gear. We don’t think they properly planned.
“While Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine was “on the brink” of surviving the war, Russia’s remaining military power remains unclear.
A senior US defence official told The Daily Telegraph that Russia still maintained nearly 90 percent of its original combat power.
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Mr Biden has also warned that there were are “clear signs” that Putin was now considering using a chemical or biological weapon to try and tip the war in his favour.
Mr Biden said: “Putin’s back is against the wall. He wasn’t anticipating the extent or the strength of our unity.
“And the more his back is against the wall, the greater the severity of the tactics he may employ. He’s already used chemical weapons in the past, and we should be careful of what’s about to come.
“He knows there’ll be severe consequences because of the united Nato front – but the point is, it’s real.”
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