As Russian troops advanced in Ukraine, the White House on Friday acknowledged that Kyiv falling to Russia is a “real possibility.” “Even as we see resistance on the ground, Russia’s military continues to advance toward Kyiv,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a press briefing on Friday.
“Kyiv falling is a real possibility,” she said.
However, she refrained from making comments on what the response would be by the Biden administration if that actually happens.
According to the US assessment of as recently as Thursday, Kyiv could fall to Russian forces within 24-48 hours.
Earlier in the day, Ukraine’s army said it had repelled a Russian attack on one of the capital city Kyiv’s main avenues. Russia “attacked one of the military units on Victory Avenue in Kyiv. The attack was repulsed,” reported AFP citing a Facebook post by Ukraine’s army. The post didn’t mention the exact location of the incident.
According to reports, Russian troops are advancing toward Ukraine down both sides of the Dnieper river. The Russian military also controls several airfields which can be used to funnel more forces into the country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is believed to be aiming to control all of Ukraine by overthrowing its current leadership. However, military actions have so far been concentrated in the east, south and center of the country.
Earlier, Ukraine’s military said it had shot down a Russian military transport plane with paratroopers on board. According to a statement from the military’s General Staff, the Il-76 heavy transport plane was shot down near Vasylkiv, a city 40 kilometers south of Kyiv. As of yet, the Russian military has not released any official statement confirming the loss.
Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy released a video message from the street outside the presidential palace in Kyiv to reassure the nation amid Russian aggression. In the video, Zelenskyy said he and his top officials are staying in the capital to defend the country.
With no more guests, this Kyiv hotel is offering shelter to citizens
The usually busy streets of central Kyiv are empty. Air strike sirens blare and a lone old woman prays outside St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery. Many of the city’s inhabitants have already fled, but now, as Russian troops advance, those who have chosen to stay are seeking shelter. Many have gone deep underground to the city’s metro system,…
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“Our troops are here, citizens are here,” he said, adding that “All of us are here protecting our independence of our country. And it will continue to be this way. Glory to our defenders, Glory to Ukraine, Glory to Heroes.”
(With agency inputs)
The White House warned that Kyiv could fall as Russian forces continue to advance on the city.
“Kyiv falling is a real possibility,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday. “Even as we see resistance on the ground, Russia’s military continues to advance toward Kyiv.”
U.S. officials had assessed as recently as Thursday that Kyiv could fall within 24-48 hours. U.S. officials still expect it could fall, but a senior defense official said Friday that Ukrainian resistance was stronger than the U.S. first expected and the Ukrainians had slowed the Russians’ push into the capital.