At 7 km from Kiev, the encirclement of the capital is slowed down by territorial defenses

March 22, 2022

On the E95, about twenty kilometers from Kiev, the checkpoints follow each other and the tension is palpable. Brovary is the last strategic lock on this northeast axis that Russian forces have been trying to break through with increasing ferocity since the beginning of the week. In the distance you can see the smoke columns. The last crossing point of the Territorial Defense Force is located less than 7 kilometers from this city in the very sprawling suburbs of Kiev. The stakes are huge. If conquered by Vladimir Putin’s soldiers, this route would lead them straight to the heart of the Ukrainian capital.

Everything was miscalculated from the start. The generals told Putin it was going to be a campaign party

The grenade fell in front of his house. Alexander shows the photo on his phone. I woke up and it’s as if I had changed my reality that day. Since then, this construction worker in his forties has joined the territorial defense. The main idea, he said, it is to force the russians out of the forest because they are hiding among the civilians and that complicates things. We are not going to shoot blind and risk killing our people. He also insists on showing the two tanks his comrades destroyed on Wednesday. But he is ordered not to go any further.

For Mykhailo Samus, a specialist in military defense issues in Kiev, this Russian loss is not surprising. Everything was miscalculated from the start, he deciphers. The generals told Putin it was going to be a field trip, that everything would be over in forty-eight hours, even seventy-two hours. And here we are, after seventeen days of war.

A change of tactics

Because the Ukrainians resisted, and they also organized. Twenty-five thousand small groups of the Territorial Defense Force watch over the city of Kiev alone. There is hardly a building in the capital that is not protected, is carried away Mykhailo Samus. The Russians find themselves at an impasse that forces them to change tactics. It is clear to him that the intelligence work on the ground has not been up to scratch, that the support of the Ukrainian population for Vladimir Putin’s project has been vastly overestimated. Putting the Armed Forces he continues, testify to this very poor assessment of the situation. They are insufficient. Putin could of course start a Stalingrad or Berlin-like scenario by bombing Kiev, but that would be a political disaster for him.”

Putin’s only success is uniting us against him

Besides the Russians appearing to be changing tactics in their desire to surround the capital, what happened in Brovary also illustrates the vulnerability of the Russian military. Although better equipped, the soldiers do indeed seem to have to use the main roads to advance, making it easier for the Ukrainian artillery to attack them and set up targeted ambushes. As a result, the first and last tank of the column that advanced into Kiev on Wednesday were targeted. It is clear to the reservist Alexander that they are not to be feared and that they can be defeated.Putin’s only success is that he has united us against him.

Meanwhile, in Kiev, in front of Maidan Square where the 2014 Ukrainian revolution took place, protective measures have been tightened. The military has piled up sandbags and anti-tank friezes. The city’s sirens, a harbinger of air strikes, resumed Saturday afternoon. Before it becomes a false alarm.