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Large-scale Ukrainian offensive unlikely in near-term: US official

Large-scale Ukrainian offensive unlikely in near-term: US official
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New security assistance from the United States and elsewhere will help Kyiv regain the initiative on the battlefield, but it will take time and a large-scale Ukrainian offensive is unlikely in the near-term, a US official said Thursday.

The previous day, the Pentagon announced the deployment of a $1 billion dollar package featuring key air defense and artillery munitions to help Ukraine’s fight against invading Russian forces.

But the new assistance, part of a $61 billion in authorized aid, only came after months of US political wrangling over continued aid for Ukraine, during which Kyiv’s forces ran short of ammunition and suffered battlefield setbacks.

“Ukrainian forces have been rationing their ammunition for quite some time, rationing their capabilities. So the Russian forces essentially have gained the initiative,” a senior US defense official told journalists on condition of anonymity.

Aid from the United States and other countries “will enable the Ukrainians to begin to retake the initiative,” but “this will not be a rapid process,” the official said.

“The Ukrainians will need to rebuild quite a bit to take on board all of these new supplies… and ensure that they can defend their positions. So I would not forecast any large-scale offensive in the near-term,” the official added.

The United States has been a key provider of military aid to Ukraine, committing tens of billions of dollars in security assistance since the start of Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

But a squabbling Congress had until this month not approved large-scale funding for Kyiv in nearly a year and a half, and US President Joe Biden only signed the legislation authorizing new aid funding on Wednesday.

Ukraine’s military is facing a severe shortage of arms and recruits as Moscow exerts constant pressure from the east, and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has said it is “certainly possible that Russia could make additional tactical gains in the coming weeks.”

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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