Department of Defense Press Secretary Pat Ryder admits that Kiev is in for a hard fight
The Pentagon realizes that Ukraine’s counteroffensive will not be an easy task given the strong defensive positions established by Russian forces, US Defense Department Press Secretary Pat Ryder said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters, Ryder was asked to respond to criticism that the US has been too slow in supplying Kiev’s forces with tanks, long range missiles and other weapon systems, which in turn has held up Ukraine’s counteroffensive.
The press secretary stressed that the US and its allies have been “very aggressive in providing Ukraine with a variety of capabilities” but admitted that the Pentagon holds “no illusions that this – this fight that Ukraine finds itself in – is an easy fight.”
Ryder suggested that the real issue was that Russia has had time to build up strong defenses in the territories it controls.
“Ukraine is taking the fight to them and it’s going to be a tough fight,” the official said.
He noted that the US has been “training the Ukrainians since 2014” and that Washington is “confident” that Kiev’s forces have “significant combat capability available to them and that they’re going to employ that at a time and place of their choosing.”
Ukraine’s forces launched a series of major attacks on Russian positions in early June, in what is believed to have been the start of Kiev’s much-touted counteroffensive operation. However, met with formidable Russian defenses and vast minefields, Ukraine has so far suffered heavy casualties, while failing to achieve any significant territorial gains.
On Friday, Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that since launching the counteroffensive, Kiev has lost over 43,000 troops, more than 4,900 pieces of heavy weaponry, including German-made Leopard tanks and US-made Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, and some 747 artillery guns.
The slow pace of the operation and Kiev’s heavy losses have reportedly become a point of frustration for Ukraine’s backers in the US and NATO, with several Western media outlets reporting that further military support to the country could be contingent on the counteroffensive’s success.
Meanwhile, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Aleksey Danilov, admitted on Wednesday that Kiev does not have an exact timetable for progress in its counteroffensive, and insisted that “no one but us can impose deadlines.”
August 04, 2023 at 07:17PM