Ukraine forces say entire Kyiv region liberated amid Russian retreat; Pentagon says Putin’s ‘repositioning’

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Ukrainian forces have reportedly retaken all of Kyiv and the areas surrounding the capital as Russian forces continue to retreat toward the Donbas region and the governments of both nations move closer to reaching a peace agreement.

“Irpin, Bucha, Gostomel and the whole Kyiv region were liberated from the invader,” Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Maliar announced Saturday afternoon Eastern Standard Time on Facebook

Ірпінь, Буча, Гостомель та вся Київська область – звільнені від загарбника💪🇺🇦

зараз варто утриматись від заїзду у звільнені населені пункти, поки не завершиться розмінування

Posted by Ганна Маляр on Saturday, April 2, 2022

Irpin, Bucha and Gostomel are bordering cities that lie to the immediate northwest of Kyiv and have in recent weeks sustained heavy destruction and civilian causalities.

What remains unclear is the reason for Russian forces withdrawing from the Kyiv region. Ukrainian government officials say it’s a consequence of their side winning the war. Others, including U.S. President Joe Biden, view the matter differently.

“We believe this is a repositioning, not a real withdrawal, and that we all should be prepared to watch for a major offensive against other areas of Ukraine. It does not mean the threat to Kyiv is over,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said last Tuesday.

And indeed, something Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in remarks Saturday seems to substantiate this Biden administration theory.

After first celebrating that “the occupiers are withdrawing forces in the north of our country,” he admitted that “in the east of our country, the situation remains extremely difficult.”

The Donbas region is in the east — the southeast, to be exact.

“The Russian militaries are being accumulated in Donbas, in the Kharkiv direction. They are preparing for new powerful blows. We are preparing for even more active defense,” Zelensky added.

Donbas is of special importance to Russian President Vladimir Putin because it’s home to millions of Russian separatists who resent the Ukrainian government.

“The Donbas region on the eastern edge of Ukraine has had a separatist movement since 2014–around the same time as the Russian annexation of Crimea. This region has been contested for almost a decade,” according to WBND.

“Experts expected Russia to take the territories in the Donbas region much like the Crimean annexation because of their friendliness toward Russia, but they instead invaded all of Ukraine.”

Some suspect Putin purposefully invaded all of Ukraine as a negotiation tactic, so that he could later pull back into the Donbas region and say something along the lines of, “Well look, though I wanted all of Ukraine, how about we just settle with us, the Russians, taking Donbas?”

However, many critics doubt this narrative given the stunning losses the Russian military has sustained (*Language warning):

In separate news, “Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia said Saturday that draft peace treaty documents between Ukraine and Russia were at an advanced enough stage to allow for direct talks between Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy,” according to NBC News.

Arakhamia further “indicated there was a high probability that such a meeting could take place in Turkey.”

What remains unknown is when. What’s known is that the longer they wait to meet, the more people who’ll die …


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