Ukraine Counter-Offensive Making Progress, US Army Chief Says
Ukrainian units practiced breaching mock defenses built by the U.S. in Germany before launching the counteroffensive.
Ukraine’s сounter-offensive is progressing, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said Friday, citing a briefing to European army chiefs from Ukrainian army Chief of Staff Ihor Palagnyuk.
“His message was they're making progress," McConville said. “They're confident in their training, they’re confident in their soldiers, and they're confident in the progress they're making."
Palagnyuk was briefing McConville and European army chiefs in Germany as part of a gathering of land forces commanders in Europe called the Conference of European Armies.
Palagnyuk serves as the deputy to Ukrainian land forces chief Oleksandr Syrsky, who was responsible for turning back Russia’s initial attack on Kyiv and for Ukraine’s highly successful counter-offensive against Russian forces in the Kharkiv region last August.
The U.S. has trained at least 11,000 Ukrainian soldiers ahead of the recently launched counter-offensive, including participating in the training of nine armored brigades with other NATO allies. Ukraine has also trained a further three armored brigades.
Analysts say these forces have yet to be committed in large numbers to attempts to breach Russia’s highly fortified lines in southern Ukraine, leaving open the likelihood that a much larger Ukrainian push is in the offing.
As part of the U.S. training program, the Army built fake Russian defenses for Ukrainians to practice breaching at training ranges in Germany, said Gen. Darryl Williams, U.S. Army Europe and Africa commanding general. “That's exactly the sort of mission sets they're facing now.”
McConville said that there would be additional training for Ukrainian forces. The U.S. is currently training Ukrainians how to operate 31 Abrams tanks, which Ukraine will officially receive in the fall.
Training for the Abrams was going well, Williams said. “They are great, motivated soldiers.”