Kiev’s defense chief explains counteroffensive failures

11 months ago 18

Ukrainian troops are struggling to pass Russian minefields, Aleksey Reznikov has said

Kiev’s offensive has been lagging behind schedule due to lethal Russian minefields and the lack of air defense weapons, Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov has said. 

“It’s a question of air defense. It’s a question that we have a very long battlefield line also,” Reznikov told CNN in an interview published on Monday. Ukrainian troops were up against a “big quantity of enemies,” he added. 

Reznikov explained that it was “very difficult to break through” vast Russian minefields across the southern front. However, he added that he was “not worried” about the situation on the ground because it was a “misconception that every counteroffensive should be quick.”

The minister’s comments come after President Vladimir Zelensky admitted that offensive operations launched in early June were going “slower than desired.” The much-anticipated push has failed to yield significant territorial gains as Ukrainian armored columns suffered heavy losses while attacking fortified Russian positions. 

During the first two weeks of the offensive, as much as 20% of the weapons deployed by Kiev were damaged or destroyed, according to the Washington Post, which cited US and European officials. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that at least 15 German-made Leopard main battle tanks and over 20 US-supplied Bradley infantry fighting vehicles were knocked out in a single day. Moscow previously warned that the delivery of Western heavy weapons would not change the course of the conflict.

The Russian military began striking targets in the Black Sea port of Odessa last week, in response to an attack on a long bridge that connects Crimea to mainland Russia. CNN reported that Ukraine’s air defenses in Odessa have shown “a significantly lower success rate” compared to their performance in the Kiev area. The Russian Defense Ministry said that it only targeted military sites.

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