The United States’ top general warned that Ukraine has just six weeks before the turn of the weather hampers its counteroffensive, even if Kiev signals it will continue fighting through the winter.
“There is still a reasonable amount of time left, about 30 to 45 days of fighting,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told the BBC on Sunday. After that, mud and rain could disrupt the battlefield, he said.
Following the recent “glass half full” message given by Biden administration officials, Milley said the counteroffensive has made “steady progress” since it began in early June.
“This battle is not over yet and it is too early to say how it will end,” he said.
Reports on Sunday suggested only marginal gains around one of Ukraine’s main strike areas, near the village of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region, which is on the way to the strategic city of Tokmak.
An unofficial Telegram channel belonging to Ukraine’s 46th brigade, which proved to be a reliable source of information, said troops had advanced eastward from a neighboring village, but stressed that Russian forces still held higher ground nearby, which which gives the opponent an advantage.
Additionally, an online update from Tavria command said, “We continue to make small advances in the Robotyne area. About 1.5 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory were liberated.”
‘The counteroffensive will continue’
Asked about the pace of advance of his forces on Friday, President Volodymyr Zelensky insisted that Ukraine still had the initiative, but appealed to the audience at a conference in Kiev not to see the counteroffensive as a movie that was resolved in 90 minutes. .
One of Zelensky’s senior security officials, speaking at the same event the following day, indicated that Ukraine’s forces could be prepared to continue attacking throughout this winter.
Kyrylo Budanov, head of military intelligence, acknowledged that the counteroffensive is progressing more slowly than desired.
Russia’s defensive lines were well planned, he said, and heavily reinforced with mines, which made the situation on the battlefield “complicated.”
But even though cold weather is a reality the military cannot ignore, “hostilities will continue, the counteroffensive will continue,” he said.
Comparisons with Ukraine’s first major counteroffensive, in 2022, also suggest that it is possible to extend the deadline.
Russian forces were moved east out of the Kharkiv region exactly one year ago, culminating in the recapture of the city of Lyman by Ukrainian forces around September 30.
Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the south, at the time, lasted another six weeks, only ending around November 10, with the liberation of Kherson.
Kiev’s allies also fear that a halt in offensives over the winter would only serve to give Russia the opportunity to further reinforce its defenses.
Source: CNN Brasil
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