U.S. Assessment Finds Russian Advance Frustrated by Stiffer-Than-Expected Ukrainian Resistance
Ukrainian servicemen take positions at the military airbase Vasylkiv in the Kyiv region Saturday. PHOTO: MAKSIM LEVIN/REUTERS
WASHINGTON—Russian forces are frustrated by stiffer-than-expected Ukrainian resistance over the past 24 hours as they seek to capture Ukraine’s capital and topple its pro-Western government, a U.S. defense official said Saturday.
“We continue to believe based on what we’ve observed that this resistance is greater than what the Russians expected,” according to the defense official.
The Russian push into Kyiv has been slowed by the resistance posed by Ukrainian antiair and antitank weapons that have thus far foiled an invasion into the city, the official said. Most of the resistance is in the northern area of the country, and Russian forces on Saturday were about 20 miles north of Kyiv, the official said.
Those air and anti-tank defenses may have blunted the Russians’ ability to take over any major Ukrainian cities, not just Kyiv, officials said. There has been no indication any cities have been taken, and Russia has yet to achieve superiority of the air, the official said.