By Tom Squitieri
Red Snow News
WASHINGTON — Ukraine’s military has dealt the Russian invading forces unexpected setbacks and has prevented Moscow from being able to “executive their plans as they deemed they would” the Pentagon said.
“Our understanding is they have experienced some setbacks,” John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesperson, told reporters, referring to the Russian invaders. Of Ukraine’s military, he said “they are fighting back and we have seen measures of success.”
At a Twitter forum in Washington sponsored by the German Marshall Fund, Olena Sotnyk, an adviser to Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, said, “The next 48 hours will be decisive.”
On Friday, Russian troops were attacking from the north toward Kyiv, from the northeast, from the east, and the south. Ukraine lost the city of Konotop. There’s an ongoing fight for control of the city of Melitopol. Russia has reached the line of Kherson – Nova Kakhova – Kakhova to hold the dam of North Crimean Canal and establish provision of water to Crimea. Russia has deployed additional units in the direction of Skadovsk.
Kirby called it a “no kidding invasion of their country.”
Officials warned residents of Kyiv to “prepare Molotov cocktails” as Russian troops advanced on the capital.
“We are continuing to provide” lethal and non-lethal aid to Ukraine,” Kirby said. “We will have to look for other ways to do this (provide support) since the air space over Ukraine is contested. We are going to provide additional security assistance. How that is going to be done is still being worked out.”
Disparate battlefield reports offered different storylines, some which Pentagon officials acknowledged, others that they professed unaware.
For example, Kirby was asked about a widely circulated and publicized plea by Ukraine President Zelensky for NATO, including the U.S., to establish a no-fly zone in Ukrainian skies as it has done in Syria and other conflict zones. “I haven’t seen that request,” Kirby told reporters.
On Friday, NATO for the first time activated its rapid response force. Kirby said that forces, which will include thousands of U.S. troops, will be deployed to some NATO nations only —not neutrals like Finland and Moldova who are also threatened by the Russian rampage.
‘That’s a big deal,” Kirby said. “We are going to lean in as much as we can.” Between 10,000 and 12,000 U.S. troops have been put on heightened alert to deploy.
He also said there are no plans to remove National Guard forces now in Moldova training that military, Moldova had a revolt by its Russian-speaking minority in a war in 1992, and now there are 1,500 Russian paratroopers based in the contested area.
What is clear are Ukraine heroes.
A group of 13 soldiers on Zmiinyi (Snake) island are being honored as heroes after they died refusing to surrender to a Russian warship, which then blasted them to death.
At Henichesk bridge, Vitaliy Skakun Volodymyrovych sacrificed his life by blowing up a bridge linking Russian-occupied Crimea to Ukraine trying to stop Russian troops.