The Pentagon said on Wednesday that the US has seen Russian forces “completely withdraw” from northern areas of Ukraine near the cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv as Russia’s assault is now primarily focused on the eastern Donbas region.
“We are not showing Russian forces in or around Kyiv or to the north of Kyiv, and we’re not showing Russian forces in or around Chernihiv,” a Pentagon official told reporters.
“We have now seen that the Russians have moved from the north into Belarus and to Russia for refit and resupply. We have seen indications that that refit and resupply is occurring,” the official added.
US and NATO officials have said that Russia is now regrouping to focus on eastern Ukraine. On March 25, Russia announced that the “first stage” of its invasion was over and said it would start focusing on “liberating” the eastern Donbas region. Last week, after peace talks in Turkey, Russia said it would “drastically” reduce its military operations near Kyiv and Chernihiv.
The Western narrative is that Russia withdrew from the north because it was defeated by Ukrainian forces. But the Russians insist that they never meant to take over Kyiv or other major cities in the region and say the northern assault was meant to deplete Ukraine’s armed forces so it could then focus on the east.