Senior officer: Russian forces regrouping ahead of Kyiv

Lt. Col. Toomas Tõniste.
Lt. Col. Toomas Tõniste. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The current lull in fighting around the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, is the result of Russian invading forces regrouping ahead of a continuation of the offensive, a senior Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) staff office says. Meanwhile, an interior ministry spokesperson said that close to 300 Ukrainian people fleeing the conflict have so far been received by Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) personnel, upon arrival at the Estonian border.

Lt Col. Toomas Tõniste, deputy chief of analysis and planning at the EDF general staff, said Tuesday that Monday's talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations had not yielded any substantive results.

Appearing at a defense ministry press conference Tuesday, Tõniste said: "Despite the talks, attacks on the Russian side continued. There are one more reports of the Russian side violating the law of war."

"Their goal was to gain time to change around units, while it was agreed that more meetings [with the Ukrainian side] would go ahead," he went on.

The pace of the attack had changed as Russian forces mustered ahead of a continuation of the attempt to take the Ukrainian capital, on the same day that brutal attacks took place in Kharkiv.

"The direction of Kyiv has been calmer at the moment. The reason for this lull is the concentration of Russian forces to continue the attack," Tõniste added, noting that MLRS and artillery had been used in Kharkiv, and that the port city of Mariupol had been cut off by Russian forces.

"The goal of the Russian armed forces to cut off Ukraine from the Sea of ​​Azov and unite Crimea with the Donbass is bearing fruit," he added.

Any Belarusian intervention would also increase the offensive force, Tõniste said, though if personnel from that country did cross the border it would not necessarily threaten Ukrainian forces' rears if, for instance, the target was Chernihiv, around 40km from the Belarus-Ukraine border.

Veiko Kommusaar, Undersecretary or Internal Security, Law Enforcement and Migration Policy at the Ministry of the Interior said that 270 Ukrainian refugees have received advice from the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) upon arrival in Estonia, adding that buses, mainly coming from the Ukraine-Poland border, are still on their way here today.

The ministry has allowed Ukrainian citizens to come to Estonia visa-free, he noted.

Secretary General at the social affairs ministry, Maarjo Mändmaa said that when people arrive in Estonia, accommodation places have been set up, which are essentially reception places where people can catch their breath.


Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Andrew Whyte

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: