Ukraine is on track to achieve battlefield objectives – Pentagon

Ukraine is on track to achieve battlefield objectives – Pentagon official

WASHINGTON, Oct 3 (Portal) – Ukraine appears on track to meet several of its key battlefield objectives as Kyiv seeks to strengthen its military position vis-à-vis Russia ahead of the winter, a senior Pentagon official said on Monday .

The optimistic assessment from Celeste Wallander, the deputy defense secretary for international security affairs, came on the same day that Ukrainian forces in the south of the country made their biggest breakthrough since the start of the war.

Ukrainian troops charged across the Russian lines and quickly advanced along the Dnipro River, threatening supply lines for thousands of Russian troops.


Wallander cited recent efforts in the southern Kherson region as recent successes in Kharkiv and Donetsk.

“Ukraine appears to be on track to meet all three of these goals right now,” Wallander told the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

The setbacks for Russia have prompted sharp public criticism of the generals running Russia’s war, prompting Moscow to order the partial mobilization of forces.

However, a US military official who briefed Pentagon reporters on condition of anonymity said Washington – which arms and advises Ukraine’s military – has still not seen large-scale Russian reinforcements of its troops in Ukraine.

“By and large we saw relatively small numbers (of Russian reinforcements)…but nothing big at this stage of the game,” said the official.

Kyiv gave little information about its recent gains in the south, but Russian sources acknowledged that a Ukrainian tank offensive had advanced dozens of kilometers along the west bank of the river, retaking a number of villages in the process.

“Ukraine’s goal is to push back the Russian bridgehead on the west bank of the Dnieper near Kherson,” Wallander explained.

That would be “a heavy defeat for Russia,” she said.

“Because it pushes back even more Russia’s ambition to take Odessa, which was one of the stated goals earlier this year,” Wallander said.

“It’s going to be so much more difficult and it gives Ukraine a much better defensive position to weather what will likely be a containment of the hot fighting over the winter.”

The advance in the south mirrors tactics that have seen Kyiv make big gains in eastern Ukraine since early September, where its forces were quickly seizing territory in a bid to seize control of Russian supply lines, cutting off larger Russian forces and forcing them to retreat.

On Friday, Ukraine recaptured Lyman, the main Russian bastion in northern Donetsk province. That has paved the way for him to penetrate deep into Luhansk province and threaten the main supply routes to areas Moscow captured in some of the bloodiest battles of the war in June and July.

Wallander said Ukraine’s capture of Lyman would “significantly affect Russia’s ability to supply, redeliver and move forces along this line of conflict”.


Reporting by Phil Stewart; additional reporting by Tom Balmforth in Kyiv; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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