Ukraine invasion: Three Russian commanders killed so far – and Kyiv convoy stuck in ‘enormously large traffic jam’, Western officials say
Ukrainian forces are still putting up a strong fight and the Russians are not doing as well as they hoped, but Western officials warned of a “high level’ of Russian air and artillery strikes.
Three Russian commanders have been killed by Ukrainian forces and the convoy outside Kyiv is an “enormously large traffic jam”, according to Western officials.
In an update on Friday, the officials said Russian Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky, deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army, was shot by a sniper on Thursday, making him the highest-ranking Russian forces member to die in the invasion.
A divisional commander and a regimental commander were also killed by Ukrainian forces, they confirmed.
‘Commanders on frontline due to lack of progress’
Usually, commanders would not be on the frontline as they are directing operations, but one official said: “My assessment would be that those commanders have been killed because they’ve had to go further and closer to the front.
“That’s an indication of some degree of frustration and some degree of lack of progress, and they’re trying to impose their sort of personality on the battlefield and putting themselves at personal risk.”
Western officials confirmed Ukraine continues to hold the majority of its key cities, but Russian forces have encircled or bypassed some, including the southern cities of Kherson and Melitopol.
“Over the last 24 hours, there’s been a high level of Russian air and artillery strikes that have continued to hit Ukrainian cities, including civilian sites,” they said.
• Mariupol, the main port on the Sea of Azov, remains surrounded by Russian forces and under heavy bombardment
• 47 people have reportedly been killed in Russian airstrikes in Chernihiv
• Russian troops have entered Mykolaiv – an hour up the road from key city of Kherson
• Fierce fighting between local forces and Russian troops on outskirts of Enerhodar – with casualties reported
• Russian parliament passes a bill introducing sentences of up to 15 years in prison for “fake” information about military action
• President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says only ‘urgent action by Europe’ can stop the Russians
Western officials also said the 40-mile convoy of Russian military vehicles headed to Kyiv is “in effect, an enormously large traffic jam”.
Satellite images have shown the long convoy making its way towards the Ukrainian capital since Monday, but officials said its progress is being hampered by logistical and mobility challenges.
They said the convoy has been attacked “on a number of occasions” by Ukrainian forces, but they have “limited assets” to be able to strike “more deeplay,
“The impact of [the Ukrainians] using explosives to demolish bridges has meant that the force hasn’t had the kind of engineering mobility to maintain pace,” an official said.
“You’ve got now, in effect, an enormously large traffic jam with some vehicles that have been damaged or destroyed.
“You’ve got a real problem in passing logistics forward to enable it to move at pace – that force has not made any significant progress now for a number of days.”
They added that the convoy is “a really good example of how the Russian ground forces are not performing” as they have trained for, and how they would pride themselves on doing so.
‘Russia failed to defeat Ukrainian defence systems on first night’
Western political and military leaders have been saying the Russians have not been doing as well as they hoped, partly because they did not predict how strong the Ukrainian forces would be.
The officials said it is also because the Russians “failed to defeat Ukrainian defence systems on the first night” so have not been able to use their sophisticated air force to provide cover over valuable assets.
“It’s had an enormous impact on the way in which they’ve been able to execute that kind of ground manoeuvre, it’s caused so many problems they’re now having to try to resolve,” they said.
“It’s taking them time to be able to get through that particular challenge.”