Fast-advancing Ukraine Armed Forces (UAF) units were following up closely on retreating Russian Federation forces in Kyiv Region on Friday, April 1, with the key road intersection town of Ivankiv reported free of Russian Federation troops by midday.
Reporter Bohdan Aminov, an Ivankiv resident, at 11:00 posted a report saying the town some 80 km. of the capital Kyiv was empty of RF troops and that UAF units were entering unopposed. Aminov’s report, if confirmed, would mean the UAF had gained control of critical road intersections controlling all movement northward from Kyiv towards Belarus. RF forces took over the town on March 3. According to both official Ukrainian and independent news sources, other villages in Kyiv Region long held by the RF, and declared free of RF troops during the day, included Boyarka in Kyiv’s eastern suburbs, and Velyka Dymirivka, a town on the Kyiv reservoir shore.
Both villages block another route north from the capital. Western and UAF military observers since Monday have estimated between one and nine thousand RF troops could still be in defensive positions or in hiding south of Ivankiv. If UAF forces establish full control of the regional road network around Ivankiv, according those estimates, those RF troops to the south would be cut off and forced to abandon their equipment to attempt to make their way to Belarus by foot, or to surrender to the UAF.
Ukraine’s Army General Staff (AGS) in a 06:00 situation report said UAF intelligence has observed large columns of RF troops moving north in the past 48 hours, though it is not clear whether the Kremlin is abandoning Kyiv Region completely, or leaving a smaller defensive force in place. Intelligence estimates from the British Ministry of Defence and the Pentagon have been more conservative, warning that only some 20 percent of RF forces around Kyiv are retreating, and that the Ukrainian capital can expect more shelling and even ground attacks in future.
Taras Sharavsky, secretary of the heavily fought-over Kyiv northern bedroom community suburb of Bucha, said RF forces pulled armored vehicles out of the village overnight, though RF infantry and sabotage teams are still present. Vyacheslav Chaus, head of the regional defense command in Kyiv’s neighboring Chernihiv Region, likewise in a statement announced that RF forces were falling back at most locations, and that UAF forces had taken control of several villages. RF units have completely evacuated the Chernobyl Nuclear Power station, he said. Were the retreat by Russian forces to continue and UAF forces to advance in this sector, the RF’s more than month-long siege of the badly-battered city of Chernihiv, would be lifted.
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