The Pentagon estimates that Russian advances in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region have been “negligible at best,” with Russian forces continuing to suffer “weak” command and control, low morale and recurring logistical problems, a senior US defense official told reporters Monday.
why does it matter: Russia launched a big attack In Donbass last month, both sides described it as the crucial “second phase” of the war. Two weeks later, the United States believes that Russian forces are “behind the schedule” and suffer from many of the same problems that forced them to withdraw from Kyiv.
News leadership: The US official described the Russians’ operations in Donbass as “too cautious, too tepid, and too mixed,” and attributed some of the failures to “risk aversion and losses” that persisted in the air and on the ground.
- “They will move [to an area]They declare victory and then withdraw their forces just to let the Ukrainians take them back.”
- The official also said that the highest-ranking general in the Russian army, Valery Gerasimov, visited Donbass “for several days” last week, but that the United States could not confirm Ukrainian reports of him being injured.
In addition to the problems in the DonbassIn the past 24 to 48 hours, the official said, Russian forces have pushed 25 miles east of Kharkiv – Ukraine’s second largest city -.
- Kharkiv is only 25 miles south of the Russian border and near Donbass, but has remained firmly in Ukrainian control despite 68 days of heavy bombardment.
- The official described the Ukrainian counterattack in Kharkiv as an “incredible effort” that deprived Russian forces of the ability to advance south and link up with other units trying to encircle Ukrainian forces in the Donbass.
Zoom out: The official said 14 flights carrying US military aid to Ukraine landed in the region in the past 24 hours, with 11 more flights expected in the next 24 hours.
- By the end of the day, about 200 Ukrainian soldiers will have been trained in locations in Europe on how to use the howitzer systems authorized in recent US military aid packages.
- 20 Ukrainian soldiers have also been trained on Phoenix Ghost drones Developed by the US Air Force The official said specifically for the Ukrainian requirements.
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