Ukrainian forces have reportedly retaken all of Kyiv and the areas surrounding the capital as Russian forces continue to retreat toward the Donbas region and the governments of both nations move closer to reaching a peace agreement.
“Irpin, Bucha, Gostomel and the whole Kyiv region were liberated from the invader,” Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Maliar announced Saturday afternoon Eastern Standard Time on Facebook
Ірпінь, Буча, Гостомель та вся Київська область – звільнені від загарбника💪🇺🇦
зараз варто утриматись від заїзду у звільнені населені пункти, поки не завершиться розмінування
Irpin, Bucha and Gostomel are bordering cities that lie to the immediate northwest of Kyiv and have in recent weeks sustained heavy destruction and civilian causalities.
Putin’s troops were destroyed, expelled, and/or forced to retreat in town after town in Kyiv region following an incredible effort by Ukrainian forces. Now, as Ukraine reclaims that territory, new images show the devastation caused by Russian occupation. This is Irpin. 🎥 @MVS_UA pic.twitter.com/iKJa8Le2oy
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) April 1, 2022
Bucha, Kyiv region. The bodies of people with tied hands, who were shot dead by 🇷🇺 soldiers lie in the streets. These people were not in the military. They had no weapons. They posed no threat. How many more such cases are happening right now in the occupied territories? (1/2) pic.twitter.com/AJloZ81JIt
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) April 2, 2022
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) February 24, 2022
What remains unclear is the reason for Russian forces withdrawing from the Kyiv region. Ukrainian government officials say it’s a consequence of their side winning the war. Others, including U.S. President Joe Biden, view the matter differently.
“We believe this is a repositioning, not a real withdrawal, and that we all should be prepared to watch for a major offensive against other areas of Ukraine. It does not mean the threat to Kyiv is over,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said last Tuesday.
And indeed, something Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in remarks Saturday seems to substantiate this Biden administration theory.
After first celebrating that “the occupiers are withdrawing forces in the north of our country,” he admitted that “in the east of our country, the situation remains extremely difficult.”
The Donbas region is in the east — the southeast, to be exact.
— Thomas van Linge (@ThomasVLinge) April 1, 2022
Ukrainian and U.S Defense Officials have both announced that Ukrainian Military Forces have now Re-Captured the entire Kyiv Region all the way to the Southern Border of Belarus where Russian Forces continue to withdraw to, this area includes the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. pic.twitter.com/62lsukfN0w
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) April 2, 2022
“The Russian militaries are being accumulated in Donbas, in the Kharkiv direction. They are preparing for new powerful blows. We are preparing for even more active defense,” Zelensky added.
Donbas is of special importance to Russian President Vladimir Putin because it’s home to millions of Russian separatists who resent the Ukrainian government.
“The Donbas region on the eastern edge of Ukraine has had a separatist movement since 2014–around the same time as the Russian annexation of Crimea. This region has been contested for almost a decade,” according to WBND.
“Experts expected Russia to take the territories in the Donbas region much like the Crimean annexation because of their friendliness toward Russia, but they instead invaded all of Ukraine.”
Some suspect Putin purposefully invaded all of Ukraine as a negotiation tactic, so that he could later pull back into the Donbas region and say something along the lines of, “Well look, though I wanted all of Ukraine, how about we just settle with us, the Russians, taking Donbas?”
However, many critics doubt this narrative given the stunning losses the Russian military has sustained (*Language warning):
Watching all the Putin Bros switch to “We never meant to take Kyiv, we just wanted Donbas all along, but RUSSIA IS STILL GOING TO CRUSH UKRAINE AND TRIUMPH”
Like frigging clockwork 😂
— Noah Smith 🐇🇺🇦 (@Noahpinion) March 29, 2022
I’m honestly living for Russia pretending that everything in Ukraine is going according to plan. “Yes yes we’re just backing off from Kyiv because, for reasons, we never wanted it in the first place! Freedom to Donbas!” LMAO. Fuck you.
— Wang Yibo’s mom 🇺🇦 (@JadeDBirch) March 29, 2022
So Putin wanted just Donbas all along? Did he want to arm Germany to the teeth too then! Or push Finland, Sweden towards NATO and other countries too. Or have the US massively bolster Poland’s capacity to defend itself. Or have 1000’s of Russian soldiers die in a foreign land!
— Daibhidh 🏴 🏔 (@cridhe_gaisgeil) March 26, 2022
In separate news, “Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia said Saturday that draft peace treaty documents between Ukraine and Russia were at an advanced enough stage to allow for direct talks between Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy,” according to NBC News.
Arakhamia further “indicated there was a high probability that such a meeting could take place in Turkey.”
What remains unknown is when. What’s known is that the longer they wait to meet, the more people who’ll die …
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