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Situation on the front lines ‘difficult’ – Ukraine’s top military commander

Ukraine is having a hard time fighting Russia, the commander-in-chief of the nation’s armed forces, General Aleksandr Syrsky, has admitted this week. The situation on the front lines is “difficult,” he told Kiev’s Western backers during a virtual Ramstein group meeting on Friday.

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His words came amid the continued Russian offensive in Donbass, which saw the Ukrainian military lose more than 8,000 soldiers in just one week, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

“I … informed the coalition members about the difficult operational and strategic situation, which has a tendency to get worse,” Syrsky said in a Telegram post on Saturday, where he spoke about the talks with the Western nations providing military aid to Ukraine. Kiev “urgently needs” missiles, ammunition, weapons and military equipment, the general said.

His words came as the US approved another military aid package to Ukraine worth some $61 billion. The emergency spending legislation had been stuck in Congress for months as it was blocked by Republican lawmakers seeking concessions from the White House on US border control policies.

The bill’s approval was welcomed by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who told NBC that his nation had a “chance at victory,” with more Western weapons coming its way. Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmitry Kuleba, was more skeptical on the issue, saying that “no single package can stop the Russians.”

Moscow also brushed off the news by saying that no Western weapons could change the dynamics on the front lines. The Russian troops have been on the offensive since early 2024, and captured the strategic Donbass town of Avdeevka in February. Since then, Moscow’s forces have continued to advance further to the west and have seized several smaller settlements in the area as well. Over the past week, they took over two villages from the Ukrainian forces, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Earlier in April, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that Ukraine had lost almost 500,000 soldiers since the start of the conflict in February 2022. The Ukrainian officials and the military have also repeatedly pointed out the need to replenish the losses. Zelensky has recently signed into law a radical reform of the mobilization system, meant to boost conscription numbers by introducing harsh punishments for draft avoidance.

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