Ukraine's counteroffensive could have only 30 days left, says US military's top general

  • Ukraine counteroffensive could have only 30 days before autumn weather starts, says US military's top general.

  • The counteroffensive has been "long, slow, hard, and high-casualty-producing," said General Mark Milley.

  • Ukraine's military intelligence chief said the "fighting will continue one way or another."

US Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told BBC News that Ukraine's counteroffensive has little more than 30 days before the weather hindering military efforts.

He acknowledged that the offensive had lagged but said, "The Ukrainians are still plugging away with steady progress."

Ukraine's counteroffensive has been underway since June, CNN reported. Despite initial skepticism about the sluggish pace of the offensive's progress, war analyst Jan Kallberg said "substantial progress" has been made. Ukrainian forces recently broke through Russia's first line of defense, said to be the most formidable obstacle in liberating southeastern Ukraine.

Gen. Milley said it was too early to comment on whether the counteroffensive had failed but said Ukraine was "progressing at a very steady pace through the Russian front lines."

"There's battles not done. They haven't finished the fighting part of what they're trying to accomplish," said the US military's top general.

"There's still a reasonable amount of time, probably about 30 to 45 days' worth of fighting weather left, so the Ukrainians aren't done," Gen. Milley told BBC News.

"Ukraine is winning"

Ukrainian soldiers fire toward Russian position on the frontline in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, Saturday, June 24, 2023.
Ukrainian soldiers fire toward Russian position on the frontline in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, Saturday, June 24, 2023.AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File

At the beginning of the war, Gen. Milley predicted that the road ahead would be "long, slow, hard, and high-casualty-producing" for Ukraine — a forecast he says has proven true.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the UK chief of defense staff, told BBC News, "Ukraine is winning and Russia is losing."

"That is because the aim of Russia was to subjugate Ukraine and to put it under Russia's control," he said.

Russia is also suffering from economic and diplomatic pressure from the international community, said Adm. Radakin.

Ukraine was making progress in its quest to regain territory, having recovered 50% of the ground seized by Russia, said the British admiral.

Though the weather will stall the counteroffensive, the head of Ukraine's military intelligence, Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov, told Reuters that "the fighting will continue one way or another." He said fighting is harder in cold, wet weather, but this would call for adjustment, not a complete halt.

Correction: September 10, 2023 — An earlier version of this story inaccurately described the status of General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is the US military's top general, not the US Army chief. 

 

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