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DOD Report: Russian preparations for seige of Kyiv intensifying as shelling stops

March 17, 2022

According to a Senior Defense Department official in an anonymous briefing on Thursday, there had been "no shelling over the course of the last 24 hours" in Kyiv. The official said there had been no progress of Russian forces toward the capital city during that period, but warned "they have moved forces from their rear to join their advancing elements." The official said those supplements will likely include artillery, an indication, he said, "that they continue to want to conduct a siege of Kyiv." But the weapons package announced by the White House on Wednesday will include systems that Ukrainian forces "could use with great effect against Russian long-range artillery," the official said, adding, "The United States is going to stay hard at the task of seeing what we can do to get them long range air defense systems." Addressing the effectiveness of Russian "influence operations," the official said that with the shut down of independent media inside Russia, state-dominated messaging to the Russian people would likely be more effective. "But outside of Russia there's little to no evidence that their information ops are working. In fact, we've seen quite the opposite. Ukrainians are doing a good job staying ahead of of the information ops," he said. Describing logistical challenges confronting Russian forces inside Ukraine, the official said they are "Basically frozen around the country on multiple lines of axes, struggling to fuel themselves, and to feed their troops, and to supply them with arms and ammunition, and meeting a very determined Ukrainian resistance." "They clearly were not prepared... to be in the position they are three weeks in," he said. The official said anecdotal reports suggest that morale of Russian troops is faltering, and said that is likely because of "poor leadership," lack of communication, and "disillusionment from being resisted as fiercely as they have been." He said the department is aware of "about half a dozen or so [Russian] surface ships off the coast, not far from Odessa." "But it's unclear right now what their -- we're not sure what they're planning to do. What they’re preparing to do," he said.

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