Putin humiliated as ‘exhausted’ troops retreat from strategic airport key to battle plans

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However, a senior US defence official has said the Russians now appear to have failed in their mission as they have abandoned plans to take the capital and appear to be moving their forces towards the east of the country.

They told The Telegraph: “Despite the rhetoric of de-escalation, we’re still observing artillery fire and airstrikes in and around Kyiv.

“There’s still fighting north of Kyiv as these forces begin to reposition, the Ukrainians are moving against them.”

It is understood that the Kremlin plans to move its focus to eastern Ukraine in the coming days.

They will attempt to surround Ukrainian forces in the Donbas region, which has been ravaged by conflict since 2014, and where a number of Kyiv’s best troops are fighting.

About 700 Russian armoured vehicles have now withdrawn from the Kyiv area towards Belarus, according to Ukrainian officials.

One official told the broadsheet there was a “high probability” they would be redeployed in the Donbas region.

He said: “The enemy has exhausted its offensive potential and needs to replenish itself and regroup.”

READ MORE: Putin humiliated as 300 troops ‘hitchhike home’

“We continue to believe that this is a repositioning. We certainly haven’t seen any indications that any of these troops are going back home, or that they’re being taken away from the fight forever.”



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