Ambassador to Ukraine: It is difficult for Russia to surround Kyiv

It is difficult to surround Ukraine's capital Kyiv and Russia has not made much progress yet, Estonian Ambassador to Ukraine Kaimo Kuusk said on Wednesday.

Speaking on the interview show "Esimene stuudio", Kuusk, who recently returned to Estonia, said the Ukrainians have successfully defended their land and have destroyed a large amount of enemy equipment. Russia has mostly only been able to attack Kyiv from a distance.

"In the case of Kyiv, the goal is to surround it, but they are not progressing, because, in the hands of the Ukrainians, the anti-tank weapons are very effective. The column [of military equipment] which stands there [outside Kyiv] - the Ukrainians are doing everything to prevent equipment, fuel, ammunition from getting there. Today it went below - 10 degrees (c), when there is no fuel the tank essentially becomes a refrigerator," Kuusk said, describing the current situation.

He said the colder weather will also lead to fuel being used up faster and narrow roads are also causing problems.

"Kyiv is ten times the size of Tallinn. Looking at things from Estonia, we also tend to think in local terms - encirclement and flanking are happening on a different scale in Ukraine," he said.

"It's a concrete jungle. The streets are also becoming, so to speak, narrow forest roads, where the Ukrainians are in trouble to destroy the enemy's column."

Putin's strategy is based on misplaced assumptions and it is well known in the Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine who is the enemy, he said.

Discussing supplying aircraft to Ukraine, Kuusk said there has been a chain of communication errors.

"What the Ukrainians really need is proper air defense. As far as we know, some more allies are doing it, but they are not emphasizing it in the media," he said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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