Russia has well over 200,000 troops stationed in occupied parts of Ukraine, said Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said in an interview with CNN on September 18th.
While the general acknowledged that Ukraine’s counteroffensive progressed relatively slowly, he stressed that the Ukrainian military is “not a spent force” and is making steady progress.
According to Milley, Kiev’s ongoing military campaign cannot be called a failure, as Ukraine has broken through several Russian defensive belts and still has time to achieve further results.
The general, who is expected to retire as chairman of the General Staff at the end of the month, said back on September 10 that Ukraine had about 30 to 45 days left over for the offensive before the weather gets worse.
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Still, Milley pointed out that even if the counteroffensive achieved all of its objectives, it would not be enough to completely expel Russian forces from Ukraine.
The general said the withdrawal of all 200,000 occupation troops will take a “significant amount of time,” well beyond the scope of the current campaign.
Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which has been underway in the southeast of the country since at least June, has drawn criticism for its slow pace and limited successes.
However, Ukraine has recorded several notable successes in recent weeks as the military broke through the first line of Russian defenses in Ukraine South and allegedly started fighting at that weaker second row.
Earlier, on September 18, General Oleksandr Syrskyi, who heads military operations in the East said that Ukrainian troops had also broken through one of the Russian defense lines near Bakhmut on the Eastern Front.
The recent liberation of the village of Klishchiivka south of the occupied city allegedly It created a bridgehead for further counteroffensives in the region, said Ukrainian military spokesman Illia Yevlash.
Also read: Latest Ukraine war: Ukraine liberates Klishchyivka in Donetsk Oblast after months of heavy fighting
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