Fighting Rages in Kharkiv, Kyiv, As EU Members Move to Ban Russia From SWIFT – The Russian offensive against the major Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv and Kyiv continued through Saturday night and into Sunday. The Russians continued to hammer away at Ukrainian defenses and have hit both military and civilian areas with airstrikes and artillery, including missile strikes.
On Saturday night in Kyiv, the Russians hit a large oil depot in Kyiv setting it ablaze which was seen glowing all night in television news reports as most of Kyiv was in darkness. While not a total blackout, Ukrainian authorities issued a curfew and discouraged bright lights to deter Russian saboteurs and airstrikes.
While the Russians have not yet been able to capture any major cities during the invasion, they claimed to have completely blocked the cities of Kherson and Berdyansk according to Major General Igor Konashenkov, the Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman. He also claimed that the Russian forces have brought Henichesk and the Chernobayevka airfield under their control.
Ukraine Targeting Russian Logistics:
Ukrainian forces are targeting Russian supply columns, which are road-bound and more vulnerable than their armored forces, although, from the limited video and photos that are coming out of Ukraine, it seems that much of the Russian armor is also road-bound as well, which the milder winter this year, could be a factor in limiting their cross country capability for fear of getting bogged down.
Unconfirmed reports coming out of Ukraine on Saturday stated that Russian troops were running low on fuel, food, ammunition as the logistics chain was having a tough time keeping their troops supplied.
Fighting Rages in Kharkiv, Kyiv:
Russian armored vehicles have entered Kharkiv, a city of nearly 1.5 million people about 20 miles south of the Russian border. While street-to-street fighting was ongoing, the regional governor Oleh Sinegubov, claimed that Ukrainian troops had pushed the Russians out. This has yet to be confirmed, however.
“Control over Kharkiv is completely ours! The armed forces, the police, and the defense forces are working, and the city is being completely cleansed of the enemy,” Sinegubov wrote on social media.
Sinegubov urged citizens, however, to remain indoors while the fighting takes place.
“The Russian enemy’s vehicles advanced into the city of Kharkiv. Including the central part of the city. Warning! Do not leave your shelters!” Sinegubov said on Facebook.
“The Armed Forces of Ukraine are eliminating the enemy. Civilians are asked not to go out in the streets.” He claimed that they’ve captured dozens of Russian soldiers who complained of demoralization and lack of fuel and supplies.
Meanwhile, in Kyiv, street fighting continues as Russian saboteurs and special operations troops that were to provide reconnaissance and soften up the way for the main body of Russian armor are being isolated and hunted down. An American official with knowledge of the situation told 19fortyfive.com that those Russians included fighters from the Wagner Group. The Russians planned on being in Kyiv by this time and their troops inside of the capital are in danger of being wiped out.
US, UK, Allies Move to Ban “Selected” Russian Banks From SWIFT:
While Ukrainian President Zelensky rejected calls from Russia to engage in peace talks held in Belarus, he said that he’d agree but in a neutral country, the West moved ahead with tougher sanctions on Russia.
In a joint statement, the US, UK, and other allies have committed “to ensuring that selected Russian banks are removed from the SWIFT messaging system. This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally.”
SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), is a secure messaging banking system that aids rapid cross-border payments, makes international trade flow smoothly, and is the principal mechanism for financing international trade.
The sanctions on SWIFT will target Russia’s $630 billion dollars in foreign currency reserves that it uses to support the Russian ruble.
Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for more than 10 years and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.