How a woman and her children escaped their Ukrainian village under attack

Russian forces have continued to make further advances over the past 24 hours, a senior US defense official told reporters on Friday.

The closest Russian forces Kyivabout 15 kilometers (about 9 miles) outside the city center, has not come close since yesterday, the official said.

There are two other groups of Russian forces outside Kyiv that are potentially heading towards Kyiv. North of Kiev, a group of Russian forces are “somewhere between 20 and 30 kilometers” (or between more than 12 and 18 miles) from downtown Kiev. This group has “closed” to Kiev in the past 24 hours, the official said.

A separate group of Russian forces closer to Sumyeast of Kyiv, have stalled and repositioned around Sumy, the official said.

“We believe that many of these forces have in fact repositioned themselves in the vicinity of Sumy. We don’t know why they did this. It could be as benign as they progress on that northern leg, and they didn’t think they needed another leg, or they’re going to combine what’s left with that southernmost leg, with the southernmost leg, with the most to the north it could be just so benign, we just don’t know,” the official said.

Chernihiv, another Ukrainian city, remains isolated. Russian forces are “just outside the city” and there is “obviously fighting in the city”, but the United States does not assess that Russian forces have “moved beyond Chernihiv,” the official said.

“They are still in and around Chernihiv, and again we believe Chernihiv is isolated and under increasing pressure,” the official said.

In Kharkov, Russian forces are “on the outskirts” of the city,” the official said. The United States is seeing reports of internet outages in the city, “which seems to be part of the playbook,” the official said, but there’s still “a lot of fighting there.”

“They didn’t take Kharkiv, it’s well defended but they’re getting close if you want geographically,” the official said.

The southern city of Mariupol is under “increasing pressure,” the official said.

“Mariupol is also defended, they are fighting back and we continue to see heavy shelling there as the Russians try to increase their pressure,” the official said.

The United States continues to assess that Russian forces have captured Kherson.

In Mykolaiv, Russian forces have yet to take the town but it is under “increasing pressure”, the official said.

“We observed that the Ukrainians continue to defend the city, and the Russians are just outside the city, again mainly to the northeast, so again not much change from yesterday, but continuing to be hotly contested,” the official said.

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