According to a senior U.S. defense official, the United States on Tuesday estimated for the first time that Russia had lost its fighting power as Ukrainian forces fought to retake the city of Isiam.
According to the official, Izium is a city occupied by Russia, located southeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine. But now Ukrainian forces are fighting to retake the city.
“Today we see some significant fighting by the Ukrainians as an attempt to retake it,” the official said. “Not only are the Ukrainians defending well where they choose to defend, but we have certainly seen hypothetical evidence that the Russians are trying to reclaim the occupied territory.”
In the past 24 hours, the United States has observed seven Russian ships being shot down in the Sea of Azov heading south through the city of Mariupol. Mariupol is important as a port, and if it is captured, the Russian army will be able to withdraw Ukrainian troops from the Donbass region and from Kiev and the west of the country.
Some Russian troops do not have winter gear and suffer from hailstones due to and communication problems for supply management.
The Associated Press is currently the only international news correspondent in the city of Mariupol, Ukraine. This is a horrible experience they had.
We were the only remaining international journalists in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, and for more than two weeks we were documenting the siege by Russian forces. As we were reporting inside the hospital, gunmen began to chase down the corridor. The surgeons gave us white scrubs to hide.
Suddenly in the morning, a dozen soldiers approached us: “Where are the journalists?”
I looked at their bracelets, which were blue for Ukraine, and tried to calculate the disadvantages of being Russians in disguise. I proceeded to identify myself. “We’re here to get you out,” they said.
The walls of the operating room were shaken by the artillery and machine gun fire, and it seemed safe to stay inside. But the Ukrainian soldiers were ordered to take us with them.
Stay tuned for more details.