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20 Jun, 2023 06:24

Kiev offers explanation for lack of battlefield progress

Recaptured territory is not the main criteria for assessing whether the counteroffensive is successful, a senior defense official has said
Kiev offers explanation for lack of battlefield progress

Kiev’s battlefield performance should not be evaluated solely on territorial gains in the face of tough Russian resistance, the Ukrainian deputy defense minister said on Tuesday. According to Moscow, Kiev’s counteroffensive has so far failed to breach Russian lines.

Writing on Telegram, Anna Malyar acknowledged that “it is quite difficult” for Ukrainian troops to advance, because Moscow is fully committed to stopping Kiev’s long-anticipated campaign. Ukraine’s troops “must prepare for the fact that it will be a tough duel,” she warned.

The official went on to argue that “it is not necessary to measure the result of the work of the defense forces only by settlements [captured] and kilometers traveled.” Malyar insisted that aside from territorial gains, there are many other metrics to assess the effectiveness of a military operation, but declined to give any examples.

She claimed that Ukraine’s ongoing military push is pursuing several goals, and vowed that “biggest blow is yet to come.”

The official noted that during Ukrainian attacks on the southern section of the frontline, Russian troops mounted an offensive of their own in the east, with Moscow trying to reach the borders of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, partially controlled by Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry is yet to comment on the matter.

Kiev’s large-scale offensive began on June 4 after being talked up by Ukrainian and Western officials for several months, but so far the attacks have been repelled with heavy losses, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry. Last week, it said Kiev had lost 7,500 frontline troops, either killed or wounded.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Ukraine has suffered “heavy losses,” describing them as “about ten times more than the Russian army.” He added that since Kiev started its large-scale attacks, Moscow’s troops have destroyed 186 tanks and 418 armored vehicles.

Ukraine’s apparent setbacks in the counteroffensive were also acknowledged by the country’s President Vladimir Zelensky last week. While describing the news coming from the frontline as “generally positive,” he noted that Kiev’s troops had encountered “very tough resistance.”