On Monday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Ukraine was “well prepared” to launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces thanks to the support the US and NATO have provided.
“So, I think it’s too early to tell what outcomes are going to happen. I think the Ukrainians are very well prepared, as you know very well. The United States and other allied countries in Europe and really around the world have provided training and ammunition and advice, intelligence, et cetera, to the Ukrainians,” Milley told CNN.
“We’re supporting them. They’re in a war that’s an existential threat for the very survival of Ukraine. And it has greater meaning to the rest of the world, for Europe, really, for the United States, but also for the globe,” he added.
Milley’s comments came a day after Russia said Ukraine launched a “large-scale offensive” in the Donetsk oblast. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed it thwarted the offensive and inflicted heavy losses on the Ukrainians.
For their part, Ukrainian officials denied the Russian claims. But later on Monday, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said that Kyiv was shifting toward offensive actions “in some areas,” and US officials told The New York Times that the counteroffensive has likely started, citing satellite data.
Several more Ukrainian attacks were reported in the Donbas region on Monday. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner Group, said Ukrainian forces made gains on the outskirts of Bakhmut in the village of Berkhivka. Denis Pushilin, the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, said the situation outside of Bakhmut was “under control” but “very difficult.”
Despite Milley’s assurances that Ukrainian forces are well prepared for the assault, Pentagon documents leaked on Discord, and recent media reports have shown that US officials do not believe Ukraine can regain much territory from Russia. Regardless, the Biden administration has made clear it plans to keep supporting Kyiv and won’t push for diplomacy.