| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

Ukrainian city of Melitopol not in Russian hands, British minister says

Russian forces have not taken Melitopol in southern Ukraine, and armored columns heading on Kyiv have been stymied by Ukrainian resistance, according to British armed forces minister James Heappey on Saturday.

According to Heappey, the British view is that Russia has yet to seize any of its day one targets for its invasion of Ukraine, which began on Thursday.

“Even Melitopol, which the Russians claim to have captured but we can’t see anything to back it up,” Heappey told BBC radio.

“The fighting … reported on the outskirts of Kyiv overnight, we understand to just be Russian special forces and pockets of paratroopers,” he said.

“The reality is that the armored columns that were coming down from Belarus and the north that were going to encircle Kyiv are still some way north because they’ve been held up by this incredible Ukrainian resistance,” the minister said.

Heappey said British defense minister Ben Wallace had chaired a meeting with 25 other countries on Friday which all agreed to provide further military or humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

He said those nations would work together to see how that could be delivered, but he was confident that they could get more weapons and medical supplies to Ukrainian forces.

“We’re doing our best to get it to them,” he told Sky News.

  • Reuters