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Top US general ‘not surprised’ about Ukraine’s slow offensive

Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia will be extremely costly for its troops and will continue for a couple of months, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said on Friday.

Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, the top US military commander offered his take on the Ukraine conflict, saying, “it doesn’t surprise me at all” that Kiev’s much-hyped counteroffensive is going slower than expected.

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“What I had said was this is going to take six, eight, ten weeks. It’s going to be very difficult. It’s going to be very long and it’s going to be very, very bloody,” he said, noting that Kiev’s advance has been hampered by Russian minefields.

“No one should have any illusions about any of that,” he stressed, adding that Ukraine is fighting for survival against a strong adversary.

When asked whether the US will supply Ukraine with cluster munitions, which are banned in more than 100 countries due to the significant risk they pose to the civilian population, Milley noted that Washington “has all kinds of options,” adding that the final decision on the matter rests with US President Joe Biden.

Ukrainian forces launched a large-scale offensive along several sections of the front in early June, but all of their attacks have been repelled with heavy losses, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Last week, Nikolay Patrushev, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, estimated Ukrainian losses since the start of the counteroffensive at more than 13,000 troops. Later, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that for the same period, Kiev lost 259 tanks and 780 armored vehicles.

Ukrainian officials have admitted that the counteroffensive has faced difficulties. President Vladimir Zelensky has said it is developing “slower than desired” in the face of “tough resistance” from Russian troops. Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s top general, said he gets “pissed off” when people say the offensive is proceeding too slowly, explaining that it is “not a show” and that “every meter is given by blood.”

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