On Tuesday, delegations from both Russia and Ukraine met in Istanbul, Turkey; for the first time, Russian delegates left with proposals that they intend to take to Russian President Vladimir Putin. While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the only path to peace would involve a face-to-face meeting between himself and Putin, reports continue to flow from Ukraine that not only are Ukrainian troops holding off Russian military, but they have partially recovered some cities previously considered taken by Russian troops.
According to one NATO official, Russia has lost between 7,000 and 15,000 troops since President Putin authorized a “special military operation” in Ukraine. At that time, military experts the world over expected Ukraine, particularly its capital city of Kyiv, to fall within a matter of days. Thirty-five days later, the embattled country is holding on to its freedom as best it can. Michael Ryan, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO Policy spoke with Fox News Digital, sharing that “Vladimir PUtin is running out of steam . . . Russian forces are quickly losing morale.”
Ryan also reported that Russia has lost “at least ten percent of its overall force in Ukraine,” adding that he believes this is a conservative estimate.
According to Ryan, he believes the Russian military began the invasion with a low morale, and that the losses to their troop numbers and military supplies have had a detrimental effect on the Russian troop morale.
Ryan noted that multiple reports have held that the Russian troops weren’t fully informed of what their objectives in Ukraine were prior to deployment, which further contributes to their lack of resolve in carrying out this invasion. The ability of Russian troops to be appropriately supplied is also an issue. Within a few days of the Russian invasion, satellite imagery caught a 40-mile convoy headed into Kyiv. The convoy was plagued with issues, from muddy roads to Ukrainian civilians attempting to block movement of the vehicles, and the convoy eventually pulled back from the mission. Military experts later said that logistics issues plagued the convoy, and it seems these same logistics issues continue to place barriers hindering the progress of Russian troops across Ukraine.
Furthermore, Russian military officials were likely unprepared for the tenacity with which the Ukrainian people have worked to defend their home. Both Ukrainian troops and civilians have presented a much stronger foe than initially expected. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy refused to leave the capital of Kyiv, and his bravery served to bolster his people and their resolve even further.
Ryan related, “They’re (the Ukrainians) really creating chaos and confusion inside the Russian army.”
Russian media outlets are now reporting that two Russian villages have been placed under emergency evacuation orders as Ukrainian forces are now shelling these areas. Both RIA Novosti and Interfax, two Russian, Kremlin-friendly news outlets, report that Zhuravlyovka and Niekhoteyevka were placed under a state of emergency when an ammunition depot was blown up, supposedly with a weapon originating in Ukraine. This report has neither been confirmed nor denied by Ukrainian officials.
However, John Kirby, Pentagon Press Secretary, did reveal that Russian troops that have been in the vicinity of Kyiv have pulled back from the capital city. Kirby was quick to say that this shouldn’t be seen as a Russian retreat, but rather an opportunity to reposition the troops elsewhere.
Although both Russian and Ukrainian officials said these latest rounds of talks were productive, the Biden Administration and senior Pentagon officials say that they are skeptical that Russian is truly pulling back and likely to consider Ukraine’s proposals for peace. Intense shelling continues near Kyiv on Wednesday, particularly in Chernihiv.
On Wednesday morning, President Biden and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy were scheduled to speak via a video call. President Zelenskyy is expected to ask yet again for more humanitarian aid as well as more weapons to fight Russian invaders. In light of President Biden’s convoluted comments that the White House later walked back, the call could be quite tense between the two leaders.