The Russian advance on the Ukrainian capital city Kyiv “remains slowed,” but Russian forces moved five kilometers (about three miles) closer to the city center since yesterday.
The Russian forces are now “roughly 25 kilometers out of Kyiv,” a senior US defense official told reporters Monday morning eastern time. That is about 15 miles.
“Their advance on Kyiv still appears to be their main line of effort, and we expect that they’re going to want to continue to move forward and try to encircle the city in coming days,” the official said.
Taking Kharkiv “remains an objective” for the Russians, and “they continue to try to advance on” the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, but the Russians have not taken either city yet, the official said.
“The current belief is that if they can get Kharkiv and they can get Mariupol, if you draw a line between those two cities, you can see that that would allow them to section off the eastern part of Ukraine,” the official said.
The US has not seen “anything specific” since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he ordered his country’s deterrence forces, including nuclear weapons, on high alert on Sunday, a senior US defense official told reporters Monday.
“We’re still monitoring and watching this as closely as we can, given President Putin’s announcement yesterday,” the official said. “I don’t believe we’ve seen anything specific as a result of the direction that he gave.”
“We remain comfortable and confident in our own strategic deterrence posture,” the official added.