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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, confirmed on Thursday that Ukraine officially launched a major counter-offensive on its 1,500-mile long front lines in an effort to push Russian forces back from its borders.
“Early this month, on or around September 1, Ukraine launched an offensive in order to seize the operational and strategic initiative. This offensive is underway,” Milley told reporters at Ramstein Air Base, in Germany. “This offensive is in its early stages.”
Milley said it was too early to provide an assessment of Ukraine’s progress, although reports this week suggest Ukrainian forces have made operational advances in the Kharkiv area to the north as well as in the area. from Kherson to the south.
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“The Ukrainians showed superior tactical skill and they showed a superior will to fight,” he added.
The general said Ukrainian forces were effectively using weapons supplied by the United States and allied countries to counter Russian advances – in some cases penetrating Russian front lines, according to reports released Thursday.
Milley, who was standing next to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin following a meeting with leaders of Ukraine’s Defense Contact Group, said the United States and allied nations renewed their commitment to support Ukraine in its struggle to “live in freedom from Russian occupation and living free from Russian violence”.
Austin said Ukraine will continue to need help with air and coastal defenses as well as other critical capabilities.
“The United States has stepped up its efforts to meet those needs,” he said, referring to another $675 million arms package approved Thursday for Ukraine.
The set will include howitzers, artillery ammunition, Humvees, armored ambulances and anti-tank systems.
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“So far, Russian strategic objectives have been defeated,” Milley said.
The president detailed how Russia launched a second offensive in April after failing to take Kyiv, overthrow the Ukrainian government or push west across the country.
Milley also claimed Russia had failed in its second objective because it had yet to take the Donbass or establish dominance over the Dnieper – crossing it only in the southern Kherson region, where Ukrainian forces destroyed at minus two bridges russian forces rely on supplies.
“Their operational gains, in addition to their strategic gains, were overcome by a very successful defense led by Ukraine,” Milley said.
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The general reiterated the United States’ long-term commitment to Ukraine, but warned that “the war is not over.”
“Russia is a big country. They have very serious ambitions vis-à-vis Ukraine,” Milley added. “Thus, the support of Ukraine to continue its fight for its survival will be necessary.”