Ukrainian forces continue to thwart Russia’s advance towards major cities on Monday, allowing local governments to resume some level of normal activity, at least temporarily. Russian forces remained about 19 miles north of Kiev, according to the British government. Ukrainian forces managed to retain Hostomel airfield, a key strategic priority for the Russian advance.
The UK Ministry of Defense said heavy fighting continued around the cities of Kharkiv and Chernihiv, but both towns remained in Ukrainian hands. He credits “unwavering Ukrainian resistance” for the slow pace of the Russian campaign, which was expected to take the capital within days.
Ukrainian officials hailed their success so far, but said they expected the fight to continue as Ukrainian and Russian delegations prepared to meet in Belarus. “The Russian occupiers have reduced the tempo of the offensive, but are still trying to develop successes in some areas of the offensive against Ukraine,” Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday.
The Kyiv municipal government reported a relatively quiet night on Sunday and Monday morning, except for isolated skirmishes it blamed on Russian “sabotage and reconnaissance groups.”
The city advised residents to stay home unless they urgently needed to buy food or go to a pharmacy, but also said grocery stores and the public transit system would open. Monday. Trains would run on a reduced schedule. The government has warned that residents venturing out after being confined to their homes for more than a day should be prepared for a city to go to war. “You will see fortifications, tank traps and other defensive structures that have appeared on the streets of Kyiv,” the statement said.
Residents continued to leave major population centers for safer places in western Ukraine or neighboring countries. In Kyiv, officials have set up a humanitarian relief center at the central train station to help crowds board trains offering assistance to those left behind. The center, staffed by more than 60 volunteers who speak multiple languages, includes two warming centers, a field kitchen and psychological counselling, according to Ukrainian media.
In Kharkiv, there were long lines at grocery stores on Monday morning, with dozens waiting to enter a store. But few cars or pedestrians were visible, as artillery explosions could be heard near the city center. Freeways out of town moved smoothly, though some motorists speeded and seemed on the verge of panic. A man was heard yelling at other vehicles to go faster. Military checkpoints have been set up on major roads, where traces of recent shelling are evident.