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RUSSIAN UKRAINE WAR : DAY 04
AP22057654213484

27 FEBRUARY

Overnight, a gas pipeline outside Kharkiv was reported to have been blown up by a Russian attack, while an oil depot in the village of Kriachky near Vasylkiv ignited after being hit by missiles. Heavy fighting near the Vasylkiv air base prevented firefighters from tackling the blaze. The Presidential Office stated that Zhuliany Airport was also bombed. Russian-backed separatists in Luhansk province said that an oil terminal in the town of Rovenky was hit by a Ukrainian missile. The State Emergency Service of Ukraine rescued 80 people from a nine-story residential building in Kharkiv after Russian artillery hit the building, extensively damaging it and killing a woman.

Nova Kakhovka’s mayor, Vladimir Kovalenko, confirmed that the city had been seized by Russian troops, and he accused them of destroying the settlements of Kozatske and Vesele. Russian troops also entered Kharkiv, with fighting taking place in the city streets, including in the city centre. At the same time, Russian tanks started pushing into Sumy. Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that Russian forces had completely surrounded Kherson and Berdyansk, in addition to capturing Henichesk and Kherson International Airport in Chernobaevka. By the early afternoon, Kharkiv Oblast governor Oleh Synyehubov stated that Ukrainian forces had regained full control of Kharkiv, and Ukrainian authorities said that dozens of Russian troops in the city had surrendered.

Sergey Melikov, the head of the Republic of Dagestan, announced that a high-ranking Dagestani officer died in Ukraine when he detonated a grenade, killing several Ukrainian military personnel. A group of Kadyrovtsy soldiers hiding in civilian infrastructure in Hostomel were either killed or captured.

Putin ordered Russian nuclear forces on a high alert, a “special regime of combat duty”, in response to what he called “aggressive statements” by NATO.

Ukraine said that it would send a delegation to meet with a Russian delegation for talks. Zelenskyy’s office said that they agreed to meet without preconditions. Zelenskyy also said that he talked by telephone with Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko and stated that he was promised that Belarusian troops would not be sent to Ukraine.

According to the intelligence analyst firm Rochan Consulting, Russia had been able to connect Crimea with areas in eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian forces by besieging Mariupol and Berdiansk. Oleksiy Arestovych, an advisor to President Zelenskyy, stated that Berdiansk had been captured by Russian forces. The main Russian force from the Crimea was advancing north towards Zaporizhzhia, while a Russian force on the east bank of the Dnipro threatened Mykolaiv.

The Guardian reported that Russian forces were pushed back in Bucha and Irpin to the north-west of Kyiv. According to British military intelligence, Russian mechanized forces had bypassed Chernihiv as they moved towards Kyiv. The ISW said that Russian forces in northern Ukraine had likely conducted an “operational pause” starting the previous day in order to deploy additional forces and supplies; Russian military resources not previously part of the invasion force were being moved toward Ukraine in anticipation of a more difficult conflict than initially expected.

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