The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff has said Ukraine is unlikely to expel all Russian troops from its borders this year, calling that a “very, very difficult military task”.
Ukraine’s president “has publicly stated many times that the Ukrainian objective is to kick every Russian out of Russian-occupied Ukraine. And that is a significant military task,” Gen Mark Milley said in a Defense One interview posted on Friday.
“You’re looking at a couple hundred thousand Russians who are still in Russian-occupied Ukraine. I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m just saying it’s a very difficult task.”
On Friday, Gen Milley said Russia “has failed” strategically, operationally, “and now they’re failing tactically, as well.” That followed his testimony to the House Armed Services Committee that Russian forces were “getting slaughtered” by Ukrainian troops, due in part to poor training and human-wave tactics, the media platform Defense One reported.
The United States is planning to release a package of military assistance to Ukraine valued at $2.6 billion (€2.39 billion), according to an official.
The latest weapons package includes $2.1 billion under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, including a resupply of Nassam air defence missiles and radar. A $500 million drawdown from existing US equipment includes additional ammunition, the official said.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy vowed again to drive Russia out of Ukraine as he marked the one-year anniversary of the liberation of Bucha, the town northwest of Kyiv that suffered a brutal occupation by Kremlin troops in the early weeks of the war.
Elsewhere, Russian leader Vladimir Putin approved a new foreign policy concept that set out to confront the US and its allies as hostile, claiming an “era of revolutionary changes” was under way.
The policy “serves as a solid doctrinal basis for our further work on international affairs,” Mr Putin told a meeting of his Security Council. Russia will seek to boost ties with “constructive partners” and create “conditions for unfriendly states to abandon their hostile policy toward our country,” he said.
Russia intends to deepen relations with China and India, and to make military aid to Latin American nations facing “US pressure” a priority of its foreign policy, according to the document.
The International Monetary Fund’s board signed off on a $15.6 billion aid package for Ukraine, the final approval for the institution’s first-ever loan to a nation at war.
The IMF’s executive board approved the four-year loan to Ukraine on Friday. The loan is the nation’s biggest since Russia invaded the country in February 2022. – Bloomberg