Ukraine Retreats From Frontline Positions As Kyiv Waits For Key US Aid

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

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Jake Smith Contributor
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Ukraine’s top commander said on Sunday that the military had to retreat from positions on the frontlines of the war against Russia in a rare admission of the country’s worsening odds of victory, NBC News reported.

The U.S. is in the process of delivering military aid to Kyiv after U.S. President Joe Biden signed off on a $60 billion package for Ukraine last week. Kyiv is losing ground on the frontlines of the war as Russia’s recovered military continues to make “tactical successes,” Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksandr Syrskyi said. (RELATED: Top Ukrainian Official Doubts Biden Admin Will Be Able To Quickly Send Key Weapons Aid Amid Russia’s Advance)

“Trying to seize the strategic initiative and break through the front line, the enemy has concentrated main efforts in several directions, creating a significant advantage in forces and means. It’s actively attacking along the entire frontline, in some areas — it has tactical successes,” Syrskyi wrote on Telegram, NBC News translated.

Ukraine’s armed forces were forced to withdraw from three villages in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, NBC reported. The move was made to “preserve the life and health of our defenders,” Syrskyi wrote.

Russia has deployed up to four brigades to the region and is trying to start a new offensive operation west of Maryinka and Avdiivka, a city that fell to Russian forces in February, Syrskyi said.

“In general, the enemy achieved certain tactical successes in these areas, but could not gain an operational advantage,” Syrskyi said, noting that Kyiv is working with its partners to procure military equipment “as soon as possible.”

The $60 billion foreign aid package approved by U.S. Congress and Biden last week includes approximately $14 billion for the direct purchase of weapons and munitions through the Pentagon’s Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. At least $23 billion will go toward replenishing the U.S.’ weapons stockpile, which can be transferred to foreign allies through the presidential drawdown authority.

There are concerns among some defense experts that while the aid will likely allow Ukraine to bolster its defensive positions, it is unlikely to push the country closer to a military victory against Russia. Though Russia has suffered immense manpower losses, its military has largely recovered and weapons production is at full operational capacity.

“I think there’s not enough money available, either in this bill or in a much larger one, to help Ukraine achieve their goals of retaking all their territory or even go on offense in a sustained way,” Benjamin Friedman, policy director at Defense Priorities, previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “So in a sense, moving forward is beyond their grasp, even if we give them a lot more weapons.”

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