Advertisement

U.S. Defense Official: Russia’s Putin ‘Increasingly Frustrated’ With Troops’ Lack of Progress in Ukraine

Advertisement

OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Russian President Vladimir Putin and his top military leaders are “increasingly frustrated” with a lack of progress in seizing key objectives inside Ukraine following Thursday’s invasion amid tougher-than-expected resistance.

According to Fox News, a senior U.S. defense official said that though Putin has committee around 50 percent of the nearly 200,000 troops he assembled on Ukraine’s borders over the past few months, they have yet to achieve total success in several areas of operation.

“We have indications that the Russians are increasingly frustrated by their lack of momentum over the last 24 hours, particularly in the north parts of Ukraine,” the senior defense official told the network. “We also continue to see indications of viable Ukrainian resistance.”

“We continue to believe, based on what we’ve observed, that this resistance is greater than what the Russians expected,” the official added.

“The Russians have lost a little bit of their momentum. No population centers have been taken. Russia has yet to achieve air superiority,” another defense official told Axios.

Fox News noted further:

Russian forces have entered Ukraine from the north, south and east, and defense officials believe Putin is attempting to encircle the capital city of Kyiv.

Russia launched a successful amphibious assault from the Sea of Azov Friday and its forces continue to make advancements, but the defense official said Russia has been unable to gain air superiority or take control over any Ukrainian cities.

Advertisement

Despite attempted advances, Russian forces have been unable to successfully penetrate Kyiv and remain approximately 20 miles outside the city.

Though the official noted the situation in Ukraine is a “battlefield” and remains “very dynamic and will change hour by hour.”

The United Kingdom’s defense ministry claimed on Saturday that Putin’s primary objective is to capture the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. However, UK defense officials noted as well that unexpectedly strong Ukrainian resistance, as well as logistical problems, have hampered the Russian advance.

There were clashes overnight in the capital city, but reports indicate those were mostly small battles that were carried out between Ukrainian forces and Russian sleep cell saboteurs.

Russia appears to be carrying out cyberattacks against Ukrainian internet networks, making access intermittant. Also, Russian missiles and shells have struck some civilian housing.

Russian forces are “bypassing” areas with large populations and are instead leaving forces behind to “encircle and isolate them,” according to the U.K. defense ministry.

On Friday, President Joe Biden approved an additional $350 million in aid to Ukraine, pushing defensive assistance to the country to $1 billion over the past year.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Saturday the assistance would take the form of anti-armor, small arms, various munitions, body armor and “related equipment in support of Ukraine’s frontline defenders.”

“We, along with our allies and partners are standing together to continue to expedite security assistance to Ukraine,” Kirby said. “Our commitments and deliveries continue as a sign of our unwavering support for Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

At the same time, Biden has offered to evacuate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, but he rejected the U.S. leader and instead asked for more military help.

“Zelensky, meanwhile, turned down an American offer to evacuate, saying the ‘fight is here,’ Ukraine’s embassy in Britain tweeted. ‘I need ammunition, not a ride,'” Axios noted.

Advertisement

The administration also asked Congress to provide $6.4 billion in funding to assist Ukraine, which is likely to receive bipartisan support.

“We’re looking at including a Ukraine assistance package and COVID relief in the omnibus,” a congressional leadership aide told Axios on Friday.

Also Friday, the U.S. joined the European Union and the United Kingdom in imposing sanctions Friday personally on Putin.

“It is exceedingly rare for Treasury to designate a head of state; President Putin joins a very small group that includes despots such as Kim Jong Un, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, and Bashar al-Assad,” the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement.

Advertisements