‘Kyiv Will Be Putin’s Stalingrad’: Russia’s Assault On Ukraine’s Capital Is Doomed To Fail, Officials Say, As Ex-NATO Chief Criticizes Their Bad Logistics

A former NATO official has said she is ‘skeptical’ that Russian forces will ‘gain much success’ from an expected brutal onslaught of Kyiv, as Ukrainians warned Putin to prepare for his own Stalingrad in the capital.

Russian armoured vehicles are still slowly advancing on the city’s northeast after being stalled for days, and a military airfield south of the city in Vasylkiv has been hit by missiles, destroying the runway, a fuel depot and an ammunition store.

The bulk of Russian ground forces are now around 15 miles from the centre but elements of the large column have dispersed in a bid to encircle the city, after pummeling the northwest suburbs including Irpin and Bucha. 

A column of thick black smoke was seen rising from the eastern suburbs of Kyiv this morning, but there is still no sign of ground forces moving into the outskirts. 

Former deputy Secretary General of NATO, Rose Gottemoeller, says she believes current tactics betray a sign of weakness from Putin’s forces, saying she is ‘skeptical’ of any success in the capital. 

She slammed their poor logistics saying she does not believe they have enough fuel supply for battle in the city which has faced constant shelling and fighting on the outskirts but is still bracing for an all-out assault.

It comes as Russian attacks are continuing throughout the county today despite a supposed ceasefire to allow trapped citizens to escape in evacuation routes.

A Ukrainian serviceman exits a damaged building after shelling in Kyiv with Russians closing in on the city

Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said: ‘Humanitarian cargo is moving towards Mariupol, we will inform you how it develops… The situation is complicated, there is constant shelling.’

Putin’s troops have also shelled a mosque housing eighty-six people including 34 children in the besieged city of Mariupol. It is not yet known if there are any casualties. 

Meanwhile Ukraine intelligence officials have warned that Russia is stockpiling the bodies of dead soldiers to stage a false flag attack at Chernobyl, releasing radioactive waste in a ‘man-made catastrophe’ that would amount to a ‘terrorist attack’.

Ex-NATO chief Gottemoeller told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think frankly, the Russians threw at Kyiv some of their most elite forces to begin with, they were hoping for a lightning strike to basically assassinate President Zelensky, take out the Government in Kyiv and have a quick victory.

‘But it didn’t work out that way and they ended up stalling on the highway outside of Kyiv. 

‘Now we’ve seen those forces disperse and disperse into the woods but I’m wondering frankly if they have the ability to regroup at this point because their logistics are in such bad shape, they don’t really have the fuel supplies they need for a push on to Kyiv. 

‘So at the moment, I have to tell you that I’m rather sceptical that they will gain much success in an assault on Kyiv, at least with those forces.’

Meanwhile Ukraine’s youngest ever MP and a former adviser to Zelensky says Kyiv could be Russia’s new Stalingrad.

The bloodiest battle of World War II was a major turning point, costing the German army a quarter of everything it possessed by way of material – guns, tanks and munitions.

Sviatoslav Yurah said: ‘It’s a massive town of millions and if the Russians try to come in they will have quite a fight on their hands – this will be their Stalingrad if they want to make it so.

‘Nobody is going to surrender – I can definitely guarantee you that.’

Air raid sirens are continuing to ring out across the capital region and artillery barrages sent residents scurrying for shelter. 

Fighting erupted in multiple areas around Kyiv last night and artillery pounded its outskirts.

To the city’s southwest, two columns of smoke – one black and one white – rose in the town of Vaslkyiv after a strike on an ammunition depot. 

The strike on the depot caused hundreds of small explosions from detonating ammunition.

In a multi-front attack on the capital, the Russians’ push from the north east appeared to be advancing, US officials said.

Combat units were moved up from the rear as the forces advanced to within 20 miles of Kyiv.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence said fighting north west of Kyiv has continued with the bulk of Russian ground forces now around 15 miles from the centre of the city.

It said this is likely to support a Russian attempt to encircle the capital, and could also be an attempt by Russia to reduce its vulnerability to Ukrainian counter attacks, which have taken a significant toll on Russian forces.

New commercial satellite images appeared to capture artillery firing on residential areas that stood between the Russians and the capital. 

The images from Maxar Technologies showed muzzle flashes and smoke from big guns, as well as impact craters and burning homes in the town of Moschun, 20 miles from Kyiv, the company said.

Military experts say they are baffled by the ineptitude of the tactics displayed by Russia’s armies after drone footage showed a column of tanks getting picked off one-by-one in an ambush carried out by Ukraine’s forces.

Analysts have said Russian tank commanders allowed the Ukrainians to ambush their unit by driving down the middle of a main road leading into Kyiv – and straight into a death trap. 

By multiple counts, President Vladimir Putin’s forces have lost more tanks than are operational in the entire German army.

Meanwhile in besieged Mariupol, which has endured two weeks without food, power or water amid a brutal blockade, is facing continuing shelling as a mosque housing eighty civilians including children was targeted today, and barrages have thwarted attempts to bring supplies to the strategic port city. 

A cancer hospital in Mykolaiv was also hit with hundreds of patients inside undergoing chemotherapy but no one was killed in the latest monstrous attack which comes after a maternity hospital and care home were destroyed. 

A ceasefire should be in place today to allow trapped residents in Mariupol, Kyiv and Sumy evacuate through humanitarian corridors, but Russia has repeatedly failed to observe them, as Ukrainian officials pleaded with Russian forces to allow the citizens to escape. 

Meanwhile Zelensky slammed Moscow for ‘torturing’ civilians who have spent more than a week without vital supplies in besieged cities. 

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