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Airspace Over Ukraine Still Being Contested Amid Russian Invasion, Senior US Defense Official Says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the next 24 hours are ‘crucial’
This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows the aftermath of combat with grass fires and damage caused by recent airstrikes and heavy fighting with the Russians in and near the Antonov Airport, in Hostomel, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies via AP)
This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows the aftermath of combat with grass fires and damage caused by recent airstrikes and heavy fighting with the Russians in and near the Antonov Airport, in Hostomel, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies via AP)

Russia, frustrated by early battlefield setbacks in Ukraine, could be shifting its strategy to siege warfare just as President Vladimir Putin raises the risk of a catastrophic miscalculation by putting nuclear forces on heightened alert, a senior U.S. defense official said on Sunday.

Putin gave the order to his nuclear forces as Washington assesses that Russian troops have made limited progress in their four-day-old invasion due to stiff Ukrainian resistance and planning failures that have left some units without fuel or other supplies, U.S. officials said.

As missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities, hundreds of thousands of civilians, mainly women and children, were fleeing the Russian assault into neighboring countries.

The United States assesses that Russia has fired more than 350 missiles at Ukrainian targets so far, some hitting civilian infrastructure, the senior U.S. defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Still, it had so far mainly focused on military targets.

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