Russia Signals New Focus as Biden Lands In Poland Near Ukrainian Border

March 25, 2022Coffee or Die

President Joe Biden boards Air Force One for his trip to Europe at Joint Base Andrews, Md., March 23, 2022. US Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Huddleston.

This article was originally published by RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service

U.S. President Joe Biden has visited U.S. troops near the Polish border with Ukraine amid signals from Moscow that the Kremlin has scaled back its goals in its unprovoked attack on its neighbor to concentrate on capturing territory claimed by Russia-backed separatists.

Biden shook hands with dozens of soldiers during the surprise visit on March 25 to the city of Rzeszow, less than 100 miles from a military base in the western Ukrainian city of Yavoriv, which was ravaged by Russian air strikes on March 13.

Poland is hosting thousands of U.S. troops stationed there as part of a NATO battlegroup and has taken in more than 2 million Ukrainian refugees since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division unload humanitarian supplies from the US Agency for International Development earmarked for Ukrainian war refugees at the G2A Arena in Jasionka, Poland, Feb. 25, 2022. US Army photo by Sgt. Rob Whitlow.

Biden arrived in Poland from Brussels, where he and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a deal under which the bloc will receive at least 15 billion cubic meters of American liquefied natural gas (LNG) this year amid efforts to wean itself off Russian gas imports.

The U.S. president, who announced a $1 billion aid package for Ukraine the previous day amid an unprecedented series of summits of NATO, EU, and the Group of Seven (G7), was scheduled to also hold talks with Polish leaders on energy and refugee issues.

Before his arrival, Biden said he hoped his visit would “reinforce my commitment to have the United States make sure we are a major piece of dealing with the relocation of all those folks, as well as humanitarian assistance needed both inside Ukraine and outside Ukraine.”

A Petroleum Supply Specialist assigned with 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division refuels an M1075 Palletized Load System vehicle in Zamość, Poland, Feb. 22, 2022. US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Claudia Nix.

The fighting has pushed almost 4 million civilians out of Ukraine, while tens of thousands of others are still stranded in cities without utilities and dwindling foods supplies.

After a month of fighting, Russia has yet to take a major city in Ukraine, and with Ukrainian forces recapturing some territory in pitched battles just outside of Kyiv, Moscow appeared to be recalibrating its plans.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on March 25 that the first phase of its operation — which has been met with surprisingly stiff resistance, stalling advances in many parts of the country — was mostly complete, and that it would now focus on “liberating” two eastern regions claimed by Russia-backed separatists.

It added that military operations would continue until Russian forces had completed the tasks that had been set, without elaborating.

Days before launching the attack, Russia recognized the separatist-controlled districts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine, which Moscow and the separatists call the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic.

One of the focuses of Moscow’s invasion has been the southern port city of Mariupol, which lies between Russian-occupied Crimea and the eastern areas held by the separatists.

This map shows the state of Russian advances around Mariupol as of March 24. Source: Institute for the Study of War.

The heavy fighting has trapped tens of thousands of civilians in the besieged city with dwindling supplies.

Civilian targets around Mariupol have been destroyed by Russian air strikes, including a theater where hundreds were sheltering.

Mariupol officials on March 25 gave their first estimate — based on eyewitness accounts — of the death toll from the strikes on the city’s Drama Theater, saying some 300 civilians are thought to have been killed.

Since the March 16 attack on the Mariupol Drama Theater, Ukrainian authorities had held back on giving any death toll, saying they were still trying to establish verified numbers but were being hampered by continued Russian shelling in nearby neighborhoods.

Mariupol’s city council wrote on Telegram that although “no one wants to believe what happened, the words of those who were inside the building at the time of the terrorist act say otherwise.”

This map shows the state of the advance of Russian forces in Ukraine as of March 24. Map: RFE/RL, source: Institute for the Study of War.

Britain’s Defense Ministry confirmed on March 25 that Ukraine has reoccupied towns and defensive positions up to 35 kilometers east of Kyiv, helped by Russian forces falling back on overextended supply lines.

The ministry added that Ukrainian forces were “likely to continue to attempt to push Russian forces back” towards Hostomel Airfield northwest of Kyiv.

The ministry said that “logistic issues and Ukrainian resistance” were also slowing down Russian attempts to circumvent the southern city of Mykolayiv as they attempted to push toward the key port city of Odesa.

Read Next: Snake Island Defenders Who Told Russian Warship ‘Go F*ck Yourself’ Freed, Ukraine Says

Copyright (c)2020 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

Coffee or Die
Coffee or Die

Coffee or Die is Black Rifle Coffee Company’s online lifestyle magazine. Launched in June 2018, the magazine covers a variety of topics that generally focus on the people, places, or things that are interesting, entertaining, or informative to America’s coffee drinkers — often going to dangerous or austere locations to report those stories.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Coffee Or Die Photo
From the Team Room to Team Room Design: An Operator’s Creative Journey

BRCC partners with Team Room Design for an exclusive T-shirt release!

Coffee Or Die Photo
Get Your Viking On: The Exclusive 30 Sec Out BRCC Shirt Club Design

Thirty Seconds Out has partnered with BRCC for an exclusive shirt design invoking the God of Winter.

Grizzly Forge BRCC shirt
Limited Edition: Grizzly Forge Blades on an Awesome BRCC Shirt

Lucas O'Hara of Grizzly Forge has teamed up with BRCC for a badass, exclusive Shirt Club T-shirt design featuring his most popular knife and tiomahawk.

BRCC Limited Edition Josh Raulerson Blackbeard Skull Shirt
From Naval Service to Creative Canvas: BRCC Veteran Artist Josh Raulerson

Coffee or Die sits down with one of the graphic designers behind Black Rifle Coffee's signature look and vibe.

Medal of Honor is held up.
Biden Will Award Medal of Honor to Army Helicopter Pilot Who Rescued Soldiers in Vietnam Firefight

Biden will award the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War Army helicopter pilot who risked his life to save a reconnaissance team from almost certain death.

dear jack mandaville
Dear Jack: Which Historic Battle Would You Want To Witness?

Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.

west point time capsule
West Point Time Capsule Yields Centuries-Old Coins

A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
Contact Us
© 2024 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved