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Kyiv continues to be pummeled by Russian airstrikes regardless of claims from Moscow that it will divert troops from the capital metropolis amid peace talks with Ukraine, a senior U.S. protection official mentioned Thursday.
Russian protection officers mentioned this week they’d transfer troops away from the capital metropolis of Kyiv and the northern metropolis of Chernihiv to “increase mutual trust” in its peace talks with Ukraine.
However the U.S. and Ukraine have voiced excessive skepticism about Russia’s true intentions.
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“That’s very nice rhetoric,” a senior protection official advised reporters Thursday. “But it doesn’t mean that Kyiv is under any less threat from the air – it continues to get pounded.”
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby advised reporters Wednesday that the U.S. estimates Russia has “repositioned” roughly 20% of its floor forces round Kyiv.
However Kirby additionally warned that U.S. safety officers consider it is a tactic to “refit” these troops with new provides and place them elsewhere in Ukraine.
A senior protection official couldn’t verify what Russia’s plan is for the Donetsk area as hypothesis has risen that Moscow will focus its forces on japanese Ukraine after failing to make vital advances in different strategic elements of the war-torn nation.
Russian floor forces have been stalled across the capital metropolis for weeks following Moscow’s invasion 5 weeks in the past, and Ukrainian forces have made advances by pushing Russian troops again from cities within the north and south.
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However its incapability to make floor advances has meant Russia has more and more relied on missile strikes to hit not solely navy targets however civilian shelters.
Greater than 1,400 missiles have been launched for the reason that begin of the invasion, together with greater than 300 strikes Wednesday.
The U.S. has pledged greater than $2.5 billion in safety and humanitarian assist, however Washington has confronted some criticism for offering navy defensive gear too slowly.
“There’s nothing slow about the pace,” the senior U.S. safety official mentioned Thursday.
The official mentioned that the U.S. has been sending assist to Ukraine at “unprecedented” speeds and pointed to an announcement earlier this month when President Biden authorized $800 million in safety help to Ukraine – then bringing the full quantity of assist offered to $2 billion.
“That $800 million was signed out on the 16th of March. The executive order was released the very next day, and the first delivery arrived on the 20th. So four days after the President signed it,” the senior protection official mentioned. “Never been done that fast.”
Kiyv, Chernihiv, Izyum and the Donbas area proceed to be hit with heavy Russian shelling.