Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his commanders to keep nuclear deterrence forces on high alert, even as the battle for Kyiv takes longer than he initially planned. The move came after Moscow concluded that Nato's statements on the crisis have an 'aggressive' tone.
As Russia's Ukraine invasion entered the fourth day, Putin also praised his troops for heroically carrying out their military duties despite the fact that the Kremlin's troops are left far behind their planned timeline, a significant development which the UK and US experts say indicates Kyiv's strong resistance of Moscow troops.
In a special televised address, Putin said: 'I want to thank the command, the personnel of the special operations forces, veterans of the special forces units for their loyalty to the oath, for their impeccable service in the name of the people of Russia and our great motherland.'
Putin appreciated soldiers to mark Russia's special forces day, before stressing his propaganda line that his armies are providing assistance to the 'people's republics of Donbas' - referring to two rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine that Russia recognised as independent states ahead of its invasion, reported the Daily Mail.
Russia Behind Its Planned Timeline
It came after reports emerged that Putin was infuriated with the progress of Russian troops in their Ukraine offensive.
"After three days of intense fighting, spurred by dogged Ukrainian resistance, Russia is well behind its planned timeline," UK Armed Forces minister James Heappey wrote for The Telegraph.
Heappey also stressed that Russian troops' progress to Kyiv has been much slower than Moscow expected, they were unable to take key cities early and now must try to bypass them.
'This leaves pockets of well-armed and well-trained Ukrainians to the rear of the Russian front line, exposing a vulnerable logistics tail - an omen for what awaits Putin,' said Heappey.
Terming Putin's invasion a haphazard and disorganized effort, Heappey said that Russia's armored columns running out of fuel or getting lost, and some had to advance without air cover.
Heappey also underlined that Putin's days are numbered if he fails in Ukraine stressing Russia faces several headwinds in its invasion.
After failing to seize the capital Kyiv on the fourth day of the invasion, Putin's troops entered Ukraine's second-largest city of Kharkiv, indicating that Kremlin accepted its estimation to capture Kyiv in a short period has failed and it is changing the course.