'Heavy Fighting' Expected in Kyiv Suburbs This Week: UK Defense Ministry

The UK's Ministry of Defence (MOD) believes there may be "heavy fighting" in the suburbs of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in the coming days.

The MOD provided its latest intelligence assessment of the situation in Ukraine on Thursday morning and reported that shelling and missile attacks had continued in the Chernihiv region despite the fact that Russian authorities said they would reduce their military activities there, as well as around Kyiv.

That assessment appears to support claims made to the BBC on Wednesday by Viacheslav Chaus, governor of the Chernihiv Oblast, who said that Russia had not kept its word and that attacks were continuing.

"Despite Russian statements indicating an intended reduction of military activity around Chernihiv, significant Russian shelling and missile strikes have continued," the MOD tweeted on Thursday.

"Russian forces continue to hold positions to the east and west of Kyiv despite the withdrawal of a limited number of units," the MOD went on. "Heavy fighting will likely take place in the suburbs of the city in coming days."

The UK's defense ministry also said that heavy fighting is continuing in the southeastern port city of Mariupol and that the city remains "a key objective of Russian forces, however Ukrainian forces remain in control of the centre of the city."

Chaus, governor of Chernihiv, told the BBC on Wednesday that Russian forces "attacked Nizhyn and Chernihiv. Mostly Chernihiv. Again, part of the civilian infrastructure was destroyed."

"Chernihiv still has no electricity, water supply and heat. It won't be easy to restore this infrastructure. None of the military buildings were targeted last night. They kept attacking only civilian infrastructure," he said.

Vladyslav Atroshenko, mayor of the city of Chernihiv, told CNN on Wednesday that Russian strikes had intensified.

"This is yet another confirmation that Russia always lies," Atroshenko said.

The situation in Chernihiv could not be independently verified. Newsweek has asked the Ukrainian defense ministry for comment.

On Tuesday, Russian officials said their forces would reduce military activities around Kyiv and Chernihiv.

"In order to increase mutual trust and create the necessary conditions for further negotiations and achieving the ultimate goal of agreeing and signing [an] agreement, a decision was made to radically, by a large margin, reduce military activity in the Kyiv and Chernihiv directions," Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly told French President Emmanuel Macron in a call on Tuesday night that the shelling of Mariupol would stop only when Ukrainian forces surrendered. However, Russia agreed on Wednesday to halt the fighting in the city to allow civilians to leave.

On Thursday, Ukraine's deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said that the Ukrainian government is sending 45 buses to Mariupol from Zaporizhzhia, about 136 miles away, in order to evacuate the city.

A Ukrainian Armored Car in Kyiv
A Ukrainian soldier sits in an armored car in the suburbs of Kyiv on March 26, 2022. The UK defense ministry has warned of heavy fighting in the Kyiv suburbs in the coming days. FADEL SENNA / AFP/Getty Images