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Finding a way out of war in Ukraine proves elusive

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Finding a way out of war in Ukraine proves elusive

Indeed, as Russia widened its artillery, missile and bombing attacks on Sunday, Russian and Ukrainian forces were shaping up to be an extreme battle in Kyiv.

Mr Putin has displayed a willingness to not only bomb heavily populated areas in previous conflicts in Syria and Chechnya, but also to use civilian casualties as an advantage against his enemies. Senior US officials said the coming weeks could see a long, drawn-out fighting between the city of about 1.5 million civilians, with thousands of casualties on both sides.

Russian and Ukrainian forces are now engaged in fierce street fighting in suburban towns around the capital. Russian forces significantly outnumber Ukrainian forces, but Ukrainians are attacking them with Javelin anti-tank missiles supplied by NATO and the United States.

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The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Scott D. Barrier, told lawmakers last week how long Kyiv could hold as Russian forces draw closer from the east, north and south, tightening the grip. “With the supply cut, it will be somewhat desperate, I would say, from 10 days to two weeks,” General Barrier said.

Another senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential intelligence assessments, said it could take Russian forces up to two weeks to besiege Kyiv and then at least a month to seize it. may seem. This would require a combination of relentless bombing and what could be weeks or months of door-to-door street fighting.

“It will come at a very high cost in Russian blood,” said retired Admiral James G. Stavridis, Europe’s former Supreme Allied Commander. The high cost, he said, could cause Mr Putin to destroy the city with an onslaught of missiles, artillery and bombs – “a continuing spate of war crimes unlike what we have seen in the 21st century.”

The Russian attack has so far failed to achieve any of Mr Putin’s initial objectives. But on the battlefield, he is closer to some targets than others.

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