Ukraine retakes key suburb in Kyiv

Vladimir Putin’s dreams of raising the Russian flag over the capital city of Kyiv were pushed a bit further into the distance last night when the Ukrainian defense raised their own flag over a Kyiv suburb that the Russians had previously taken. The suburb of Makariv lies to the west of the capital and was considered one of the key steps in Russia’s effort to encircle Kyiv and cut off aid shipments from NATO. The Russians had taken control of the city earlier this month, also gaining control of a key highway leading to Kyiv from the Polish border. But as of last night, the Ukrainian forces had pushed the Russian troops back out and regained control. (Newsweek)

Ukraine has said that its troops raised the country’s flag in a town in the Kyiv region after driving out Russian forces.

On Monday Ukraine said that Makariv, about 30 miles west of Kyiv’s center, had been “liberated from the invaders thanks to the heroic actions of our defenders.”

The statement by Ukraine’s defense ministry comes amid analysis that Russian plans to storm Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, were faltering.

“The state flag of Ukraine was raised over the city of Makarov,” the ministry said, using the Russian spelling of the town’s name. “The enemy was driven back.”

This was a potentially significant moment in the war. Up until now, the Ukrainians have done an admirable job of stopping the advancement of Russian columns, often by blowing up tanks and other vehicles to prevent easy passage. They’ve also directly engaged Russian troops as they attempted to move into various neighborhoods. But this was a small city where the Ukrainian defenders had been driven back and the Russians had established control. Now they’ve been forced to retreat. In other words, the defense had gone on the offense.

It may be a somewhat symbolic victory, but symbolism is important during a war, particularly when you’re trying to maintain the enthusiasm and will to fight in your own people. Zelenski has to keep up the spirits of the people he has inspired to put their lives on the line in an effort to prevent his country from being completely overrun.

Meanwhile, the Russian offensive remains “largely stalled” in other parts of the country, as well as in their efforts to fully encircle the capital.

Elsewhere, Britain’s defense ministry said Ukrainian resistance has kept the bulk of Moscow’s forces more than 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the center of Kyiv, but the capital “remains Russia’s primary military objective.”

In the Russian-occupied southern city of Kherson on Monday, Russian forces shot into the air and fired stun grenades at protestors who were chanting “Go home!” Kherson early this month became the first major city to fall to Russia’s offensive.

The outcome of this war remains far from certain and a total victory for Ukraine resulting in the complete withdrawal of Russian troops and armor may prove impossible. But looking at this week’s developments so far, we’re forced to once again ask the obvious question. Is Russia’s military really this inept? For decades we have operated on the assumption that the Russians had the second most potent military on the planet should they choose to unleash it. But they are currently getting their noses bloodied by a combination of real military units and random civilians who barely knew how to hold a rifle one month ago. And they are fighters from what is arguably the poorest country in Europe.

Yes, Russia still has a vast stockpile of nuclear weapons that can be launched from both land and sea. But nuclear weapons don’t take territory. They just kill people and destroy infrastructure. If Russia can’t actually field a competent army capable of carrying out basic battlefield tactics (in some cases not even being able to gas up their tanks), how much of a threat are they?

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