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Friday, March 24, 2023

this year, Russia will not be able to conquer new territories in Ukraine

Deputy Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl said the United States does not expect Russia to make significant progress in seizing new territory in Ukraine in the near future, calling the situation on the lines head on in the year-long war of “exhausting”.

This was made clear by a senior military official Tuesday during a congressional hearing on oversight of the billions of dollars in military aid that Washington has provided to Kiev.

Recall that Russia still controls about a fifth of Ukrainian territory.

On Tuesday, Russian forces continued their week-long offensive to encircle and capture Bakhmut. Ukraine’s ground forces commander described the situation here as “extremely tense”.

“In the weeks and months to come, you will be able to see how small areas of the territory change hands. I don’t think there’s anything to suggest the Russians can move quickly into Ukraine and make progress in capturing new territory over the next year,” Kahl said.

Recall that since the Russian invasion a year ago, President Joe Biden’s administration has provided Ukraine with approximately $32 billion in military assistance, including drones, long-range artillery systems and air defense systems.

Despite public pleas from Ukrainian officials, the United States has not supplied Kiev with F-16 fighters.

Lawmakers have repeatedly asked Kahl to send fighter jets to Ukraine.

Biden has ruled out the possibility of delivering the fighters as of this writing.

According to Kahl, delivering existing F-16s could take 18 to 24 months, while delivering new ones could take several months longer.

He added that Ukraine would like to receive fighter jets, but that is not its top priority.

“It’s one of the priorities for Ukrainians, but it’s not one of their top three priorities,” Kahl said.

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