UKRAINE: The column of Russian tanks rumbled along a main highway to the east of Kyiv, between two rows of houses in a small town — a vulnerable target.
Soon, Ukrainian forces were sending artillery shells raining down on the Russian convoy, while soldiers ambushed them with anti-tank missiles, leaving a line of charred, burning tanks.
Brovary is just 12.8km from downtown Kyiv, and the skirmish on the M01 Highway on Wednesday illustrated how close Russian forces have come as they continue to tighten a noose on Ukraine’s capital — the biggest prize of all in the war.
Conflict raged close to Kyiv on Saturday, with combat to the northwest and east that consisted mostly of fierce, seesaw battles for control of small towns and roads.
But the attack by Ukrainian troops in Brovary also cast into sharp relief the strategic challenges — and, military analysts say, the strategic missteps — that have bedevilled the Russian forces and prevented them, so far, from gaining control of most major cities.
Although the Russian forces greatly outnumber the Ukrainian army and have far superior weaponry, their size and their need to mostly use open roads make them less mobile and susceptible to attack from Ukrainian troops that can launch artillery strikes from several miles away, in tandem with surgical ambushes. Ukrainian troops shot down a number of helicopters, sending the operation into disarray, then drove those Russians who had managed to land off the airfield and into a forest, according to Ukrainian soldiers who took part in that battle.