Expert: Humanitarian situation in Kyiv worsening

Martin Hurt appearing on Thursday's
Martin Hurt appearing on Thursday's "Terevisioon". Source: ERR

The situation in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, is becoming increasingly serious in terms of becoming a humanitarian disaster, researcher with think-tank the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) Martin Hurt says.

There have been no reports of Kyiv being wholly cut off, but it has become very difficult to get in and out of the capital," Hurt told ETV morning show "Terevisioon" Thursday.

"And the situation is getting worse every day," Hurt continued.

An increased number of missile and rocket attacks on the capital has worsened the humanitarian situation, he said.

"There are more victims among the civilian population. As of today, about 2,000 Ukrainian civilians have already died," he said.

"While the Russians are also trying to destroy strategic sites, hitting Kyiv's railway station, for example, is a greater threat to the civil population, than to the Ukrainian armed forces," Hurt went on.

As to why the 50-70-km-long column which had been moving towards Kyiv had not been able to continue its progress, and why Ukrainian forces had subsequently not attacked it itself, Hurt said that there were likely problems with logistics, namely that the Russians were short of fuel and food supplies.

"We don't really know how successful the Ukrainians will be in interrupting the logistics. There are really a lot of Russian troops on this highway. It would be easiest to attack and destroy it with long-range fire, but it has not been done. The capabilities of the Ukrainians are running out. If they still had it, they would have tried to hit those targets. Although the length of the column makes it difficult to destroy.

Russia still has free reserves, Hurt added.

"The Americans have estimated that 75-80 percent of Russia's troops designated for Ukraine have been deployed. It is possible Russia still has additional resources. They also have supplies and fuel. This is just a matter of how it actually works out on the terrain. There are a lot of reports right now that they are stationary because there is no fuel or food for the soldiers."

Taking over cities is one of the most complicated things militarily, Hurt added, one which requires a lot of resources. This means that the Russian forces are doing the prudent thing in not rushing but instead proceeding cautiously, he added.

Of other objectives, Hurt considered a key objective for the Russian military to be the southern city of Kherson, already captured according to media reports.

"This would them a good opportunity to cross the Dnieper River and also opens up the way to the west [of Ukraine]. This would be the biggest change. At the same time, we know little about the movement of Ukrainian forces, which is actually positive. At the same time, it is now clear that the areas that Ukraine has given up have not returned to them. This is negative, from a Ukrainian standpoint," Hurt added.

Southern Ukraine in general had been the front which the invaders had had most success with, so far, Hurt added, in their pursuit of bridging the "gap" between the Donbass region and Crimea, both occupied since 2014.

Continuing that southern corridor along the Black Sea coast, all the way to the border with the breakaway region of Transnistria, in Moldova, was also a desirable objective for the Kremlin, Hurt added.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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