Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive, initiated in June to reclaim territories occupied by Russia, has been marked by slow but steady progress, according to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. The operation has faced significant obstacles, such as Russian fortifications and minefields, which have hindered the Ukrainian forces’ advance.
During his address to the European Parliament, Stoltenberg commended the Ukrainian troops, stating, “The Ukrainians are gradually gaining ground…They have been able to breach the defensive lines of the Russian forces, and they are moving forward.” Despite the difficulties faced since the offensive’s launch, Kyiv has persevered to break through entrenched Russian positions.
Criticism in Western media had been mounting regarding the concentration of Ukrainian forces in what were perceived as the wrong areas. However, recent developments suggest that progress is being made, albeit at a measured pace.
The constraints on Russia’s military resources and internal dissent within its ranks have contributed to the recent successes being achieved by both sides. These successes have largely manifested as controlling small villages and pockets of land.
Stoltenberg’s remarks Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent visit to Ukraine reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to supporting Kyiv’s efforts. He pledged over $1 billion in additional U.S. aid and received updates from President Volodymyr Zelensky on the ongoing counteroffensive.
Ukrainian officials reported that their forces had breached Russia’s first line of defenses but now face additional fortified lines in areas where Russian forces have had time to construct fortifications and minefields. Stoltenberg assesses that the Ukrainians are making gradual progress, advancing at approximately a hundred meters daily, causing the Russians to cede ground.
Praising the Ukrainian forces for their determination and resilience, Stoltenberg noted the significant shift in the balance of power, stating, “The starting point is that the Russian army used to be the 2nd strongest in the world. And now the Russian army is the 2nd strongest in Ukraine. That’s quite impressive by Ukrainians.”
In conclusion, Ukraine’s counteroffensive may proceed slowly but it is making substantial gains against entrenched Russian forces. Despite the formidable challenges of Russian fortifications and minefields, Ukrainian determination and international support continue to drive their progress on the battlefield.