Washington, DC – Russian forces in the Donbas are suffering from poor command and control, low morale, and logistical challenges and have made minimal progress at best, said a senior defense official.
“There’s a risk and casualty aversion that we continue to see by the Russians now, not just in the air but on the ground. So very, very cautious, very tepid, very uneven work by them on the ground, and in some cases, quite frankly, the best word to describe it would be anemic,” the official said.
Ukrainian forces have maintained dominance of Kharkiv and pushed the Russians out about 40 kilometers to the east of Kharkiv in the past 24 to 48 hours. “They’re pushing them back into areas of the northern Donbas region, but away from Kharkiv, so an incredible effort there that, again, hasn’t gotten a lot of headlines and hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but it’s just another piece of the stiff Ukrainian resistance that they continue to demonstrate,” said the official.
The official said there have been no changes to speak of in the south, including Mariupol, which continues to be hit with airstrikes.
The official confirmed that 80 percent of the M777 howitzers had been transferred to the Ukrainian military. “That’s 80 percent of the total, 90, so more than 70 of them have now been transmitted to Ukraine. As for the 155 ammunition, over 140,000 rounds were committed, and about half of that is now in Ukrainian hands, with more coming every single day.”
In the past 24 hours, 14 flights have delivered military assistance for Ukraine. In the last 24 hours, there have also been 23 deliveries via airlift from five other nations to locations in the region outside Ukraine, said the official.
The official reported that over 170 Ukrainian military soldiers had been trained at more than one location on the M777, and there are another 50-plus scheduled to complete training. “That puts us up over 200 Ukrainian artillerymen trained on the M777. Tomorrow, another 50-plus Ukrainians will be arriving at one of the training sites to begin their training later this week.”
The official said that 20 Ukrainian soldiers commenced a week-long training course yesterday on the Phoenix Ghost UAS. “So the training continues, and it’s having an impact.”