Despite some recent territory grabs in Eastern Ukraine, Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters outside the Pentagon that Russian forces have “failed to fulfil their strategic and operational objectives “in Ukraine’s industrial heartland.
He argued that “Ukrainians are making the Russians pay for every square inch of territory they acquire.”
This is partly because Ukrainian forces have been employing recently acquired US High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) long-range rocket systems, which Milley believes Ukrainian forces have been employing “effectively” to hit targets crucial to Russia’s command and control operations, field artillery, logistical networks, and air defence sites.
According to Milley, “These strikes are slowly weakening Russia’s capacity to supply its troops, command and control its forces, and carry out its illegal war of aggression.”
There are currently 12 HIMARS that have been transported from the US to Ukraine, and another four are on their way. Additionally, Milley claimed, 200 Ukrainian personnel have received training on the systems and the handling of hundreds of rockets.
Milley said that Ukraine’s military efforts against Russia are “extremely effective resistance networks” which carry out clandestine strikes in territory held by Russia, making the war more difficult for Russian troops.
He said “The Russians are challenged not only to their front with the Ukrainian conventional forces, but they’re also challenged in their rear areas. Their rear areas are not secure for sure.”
Ultimately, tens of thousands of artillery rounds are being exchanged daily, as the number of casualties rises, and the destruction of local infrastructure continues.
Milley’s remarks highlight just how harsh and sluggish the five-month conflict has grown, with shifting frontlines and an ever-increasing death toll on both sides of the war.
NATO and the West nonetheless issued a warning that Russia remained intent on annexing all of Ukraine. The Kremlin stated earlier on Wednesday that it now intends to seize more area outside the Donbas region, changing its original geopolitical objectives for Ukraine.
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