As Russian forces try to encircle Kyiv, the Biden Administration is growing concerned that if Russia’s efforts to take Ukraine’s capital city aren’t as successful as Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes, the situation in Ukraine could spiral even further.

U.S. intelligence has suggested that Putin’s likely plan is to encircle and then take Kyiv—with hopes and dreams of installing a pro-Kremlin regime in Ukraine—but things are already not going according to plan.

The Russians have become “frustrated” in recent days in their efforts to take the capital city, a senior U.S. defense official told reporters in a call Monday. “They have been slowed and they have been frustrated by their lack of progress on Kyiv.”

And with that frustration comes consequences, the official warned.

“We’re certainly mindful that the frustrations could lead to a more aggressive approach by the Russians,” the official said, suggesting that Putin could escalate his forces’ tactics. “One of the things that could result is a reevaluation of their tactics and the potential for them to be more aggressive and more overt in both the size and scale of their targeting of Kyiv.”

The alarming warning about Putin’s possible impending temper tantrum comes after Russia watchers have sounded alarm at Putin’s activities, from his rage-filled speech kicking off his invasion into Ukraine, to his disregard for human and civilian life in Ukraine, to placing his nuclear forces on high alert.

Leaders around the world are increasingly realizing just how deranged Putin may be, and taking steps to show other countries just what a pariah he is. The Biden Administration announced plans to sanction Putin personally last week, putting him on the same level as other dictators like North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. In the latest salvo, Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United Nations, compared Putin to Adolf Hitler, appearing to suggest Putin kill himself just like Hitler did a year after western Allied armies landed in Normandy, France, and pushed Germans back to Berlin.

“If [Putin] wants to kill himself, he doesn’t need to use nuclear arsenal. He has to do what the guy in Berlin did in a bunker in… 1945,” Kyslytsya said Monday at a United Nations General Assembly meeting on Russia’s invasion.

As of Monday, Russian forces are still approximately 25 kilometers away from Kyiv, the official said—just five kilometers closer than they were this weekend. And on the way, they’ve had several setbacks.

The Biden administration isn’t sure whether the delay is due to lack of planning or running through their supplies too quickly and not executing their plans properly. But they are certainly running out of gas, the U.S. official said.

“Fuel and sustainment are unique challenges to them right now,” the senior U.S. defense official said. “Our indications are that they ended up having to rely on fuel and sustainment capabilities earlier in the process than what we believed they had planned to… they’re running out of gas and they’re having logistics problems.”

Part of Russia’s problems keeping its forces sustained is due to Ukrainian resistance, according to the official. Ukrainians are putting up a strong resistance in multiple Ukrainian cities Putin wants to lay his hands on, the official said.



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