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US admits ‘slow’ Ukrainian counteroffensive despite huge military aid

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ukrainian gunners prepare to fire with a self-propelled multiple rocket launcher at a position near a frontline in Donetsk region on August 27. (Photo by AFP)

Ukraine's counteroffensive is proceeding "more slowly" than expected, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby has conceded despite the shipment of huge military aide by Kiev's Western supporters.

“They are moving slowly, and they’ll be the first to tell you they’re not moving as far or as fast as they’d like to," Kirby said in an interview with CNN on Monday. "I think it’s important to remember, when they’re running into these defensive lines, they’re sometimes three deep, and they’re protected by minefields.”

“When you’re being shot at and shelled… it’s really painstaking work,” he emphasized.

The spokesman went on to claim that while “it’s not as far as they’d like,” Kiev is making "progress" on the battlefield, reiterating Washington's military support for Ukraine through lethal weapons.

Stressing Washington's strategical focus on the war in Ukraine, he said, “Our position is we want to focus on the war inside Ukraine.”

The office of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres blasted Ukraine's attacks on Moscow earlier this week.

After several drones were intercepted over Moscow's financial district, which damaged buildings and injured one civilian, Guterres' deputy spokesman, Farhan Haq, was quick enough to condemn the attacks, telling reporters on Monday that the United Nations opposes any attack on civilian facilities and that it wants to stop these attacks as soon as possible.

Russian officials foiled another drone attack on Tuesday and said one of the incoming drones crashed into a building after being electronically jammed.

Although Ukraine has not taken credit as a matter of policy for the attacks across its claimed borders, on Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelensky declared that the war is returning to Russian soil.

One of his top advisers, Mikhail Podoliak, later said that Moscow would see “a full-fledged war” and should expect “more unidentified drones, more collapse, [and] more civil conflicts.”

Last week, Zelensky was at pains to accept that Ukrainian counteroffensive operations had a slower pace due to the fact that Russian forces “had a lot of mines in our fields.”

“We didn’t want to lose our people, our personnel. And our servicemen didn’t want to lose equipment because of that,” he claimed.

Earlier this month, Zelensky said the slow delivery of weapons promised by the West was delaying the counteroffensive, calling on the United States and other allies to provide Kiev with long-range weapons and artillery.

Zelensky has repeatedly called on its Western allies to speed up the pace of supplying weapons to his country. In May, the Ukrainian president pressed allies to send more weapons as his military geared up for the planned counteroffensive.

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