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2 Aug, 2023 14:16

150,000 Ukrainian troops fighting in ‘new counteroffensive’ – Politico

Despite committing its best NATO-trained units, Kiev has made no significant gains, US officials have admitted
150,000 Ukrainian troops fighting in ‘new counteroffensive’ – Politico

Ukraine has deployed 150,000 troops to bolster its renewed counteroffensive, Politico reported on Tuesday, citing Pentagon officials. While multiple Western-trained brigades are attempting to breach Russian lines, the surge in manpower has achieved little, and reportedly left Washington disappointed.

Kiev has spread the 150,000 servicemen acrtoss three attack axes, with the best NATO-trained units attempting to penetrate Russia’s multi-layered network of defensive fortifications near the village of Orekhov in Zaporozhye Region, the officials told the outlet.

The Russian entrenchments have proven formidable, with the Pentagon noting that Ukraine’s “gains are being measured in the hundreds of meters,” Politico paraphrased.

“They are making mostly small, incremental gains,” an anonymous official said. “They are still facing stiff Russian resistance — second and third layers of defenses.”

“If Ukraine’s supporters were hoping for a breakthrough…they were sorely disappointed,” Politico surmised.

Kiev launched its long-anticipated counteroffensive against Russian forces in early June, with one US adviser promising that the operation would “shock the world” by severing Russia’s land bridge to Crimea. It soon became apparent that this would not be the case. Bogged down in minefields and hammered by Russian air and artillery power, Ukrainian forces have reportedly suffered tens of thousands of casualties, and Western media outlets have proclaimed the counteroffensive a dud.

Ukrainian officials first blamed their lack of success on the West, arguing that they had not been given enough weapons and ammunition to ensure victory. However, they soon switched tack, claiming by late June that their assaults thus far had been “probing” attacks, and that the true counteroffensive had yet to begin.

News of the renewed counteroffensive broke last Wednesday, when the Russian Defense Ministry announced that its forces had repelled a “massive” assault near Orekhov involving three Ukrainian battalions backed by tanks. Within hours, the New York Times reported that the “main thrust” of the counteroffensive had begun. Ukrainian officers told the newspaper that they were “steadily pushing Russian troops back,” and a senior American official described the operation as “the big test” of Ukraine’s combat power and resolve.

A week later, the White House is now publicly acknowledging that Kiev’s forces are struggling. “They are moving slowly,” US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CNN on Monday. “I think it’s important to remember, when they’re running into these defensive lines, they’re sometimes three deep, and they’re protected by minefields…it’s really painstaking work.”