According to journalists, the Ukrainian authorities do not agree with Washington’s statement. Because in the spring the Armed Forces of Ukraine are preparing a large-scale offensive. In addition, Kyiv noted that American intelligence had been mistaken about the capabilities of the Ukrainian army for a year.
The armed forces of Ukraine are unlikely to be able to return the occupied Crimea in the near future. About it declared 4 senior officials of the US Department of Defense at a secret briefing before the House of Representatives for the Armed Services, writes the American edition of Politico.
Journalists note that it is not clear what exactly led the speakers to such an assessment. However, the sources say the clear indication remains that the Pentagon does not believe Ukraine has or will soon be able to vacate the Russian-held peninsula.
Another source told the publication that the briefing was more ambiguous, but the bottom line remains that Ukraine’s victory in the offensive to retake the annexed territory is not guaranteed.
According to journalists, among the speakers were Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Laura Cooper and Lieutenant General Chief of Operations of the Joint Staff Douglas Sims.
What do they say in the Pentagon?
Meanwhile, the Pentagon said they were not going to comment on closed briefings and would not talk “about hypotheses or speculate on possible future operations.”
“In terms of Ukraine’s ability to fight and reclaim sovereign territory, their remarkable performance in repelling Russian aggression and continued ability to adapt on the battlefield speaks for itself,” a US Department of Defense spokeswoman said.
The speakers’ assessment echoes what Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley has mentioned in recent weeks. On January 20, he said that it would be difficult for Ukraine to dislodge Russian troops from all over the territory in 2023.
“It doesn’t mean it can’t happen. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but it will be very, very difficult,” he said at the time.
How did they react in Kyiv?
According to the publication, Zelensky’s administration was “furious” because of Millie’s words. Because in the spring Ukraine is preparing a large-scale offensive. In addition, Kyiv also notes that US intelligence on the military capabilities of the Ukrainian army was consistently wrong throughout the almost year-long war.
Recall, on January 31, the head of the GUR, Kirill Budanov, said that Ukraine intends to return Crimea by summer. According to him, this year the Russian Federation will focus on the capture of Donbass, but the occupation of Ukrainian territory began from the peninsula and everything will end there.
On January 30, the former commander of the US Army in Europe, Ben Hodges, said that in the next few months, Ukraine could create conditions for the possible liberation of Crimea.