Ukraine has ‘good chance’ to retake territory, U.S. assesses


The aim of this phase of the counteroffensive is to cut off Russian forces near the river and force them to surrender the city of Kherson, they said. At this point, crossing the river would be “very difficult to do,” one of the officials said.

Ukrainian officials on Monday announced the operation to liberate Russian-occupied areas in the south of the country, after weeks of counter-attacks on cities in the Kherson region. Ukrainian Armed Forces claimed they had violated Russia’s “first line of defence” at Kherson.

John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, declined to confirm that the counteroffensive has begun and referred questions to the Ukrainian armed forces. But he stressed that Kiev has been conducting a more “localized” counter-offensive for weeks.

“The idea of ​​going on the offensive is not new to the Ukrainians, and they have engaged the Russians in their country,” Kirby said, pointing out that the HIMARS in particular has made a significant difference in the struggle.

The system, along with precision-guided missiles, has enabled Ukraine to attack behind Russian lines and push Moscow into defensive positions, Kirby said.

The conflict has provided the US with the rare opportunity to assess HIMARS capability, and that of Russia’s defenses in action, one of the DoD officials said. US officials are “a little surprised” at how well the HIMARS is performing — and at how poorly Russia’s defensive capabilities have fared against the attacks, the person said.

“The Ukrainians are doing very well in what they do with them and how they employ them, but we are also learning that they are able to get through many Russian systems,” the person said.

The next question, said one of the DoD officials, is whether Russian forces decide to surrender captured territory in the south or reposition combat units in the east.

Kirby said Moscow has already had to withdraw resources from the battle in the Donbas, where Russia has concentrated most of its forces, over reports that Ukraine may be going on an offensive in the south.

“They have had to deplete units from certain areas in the east and in the Donbas to respond to what they believed to be a clear threat of a counter-offensive,” Kirby said. “From a strategic perspective, it has already had an effect on Russian military capability in Ukraine.”

Upstream from Kherson, a team from the United Nations nuclear watchdog is expected to inspect the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which was captured by Russian forces in March and has become a dangerous frontline in the conflict.

Russia has “essentially militarized” the power plant, which is still staffed by Ukrainians, by stationing weapons and soldiers there, Kirby said.

“We continue to believe that a controlled shutdown of Zaporizhzhya’s nuclear reactors would be the safest and least risky option in the near term,” Kirby said.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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