Ukraine has pushed Russian forces 40 kilometres east of Kharkiv, Pentagon says

Senior US official describes Russia’s progress as ‘minimal’ and ‘anaemic’ in Donbas

A Russian serviceman stands guard in front of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in Enerhodar, south-eastern Ukraine. EPA
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The Pentagon said on Monday that Ukrainian forces are mounting a successful counteroffensive against the Russian military, pushing them 40 kilometres outside the north-eastern city of Kharkiv.

A senior US defence official told reporters that Ukraine has made an “incredible effort” in the last 24 to 48 hours against Russian troops, knocking them back "into areas of the northern Donbas region".

Despite firing more than 2,100 missiles into Ukraine, Russia remains nowhere close to achieving its goals on the ground, particularly in Donbas, the official said.

“We continue to see minimal at best progress by the Russians in the Donbas … quite frankly, the best word to describe it would be anaemic,” the official said.

The Pentagon reported that the number of battalion tactical groups that Russia has sent into Ukraine has risen to 93, through the official did not confirm British intelligence reports that many of these groups have been rendered ineffective. Russian battalion tactical groups usually comprise about 800 troops.

“I don't have the metrics [the British] are using to make that determination. We would assess clearly that not all of those [battalion tactical groups], while operational in the fight, are at the same level of combat readiness they were before going into Ukraine,” the Pentagon official said.

Destruction from Russian shelling in Novovorontsovka, Ukraine, near the Donbas region. Getty Images

Asked about the Russian generals who have reportedly been killed in Ukraine, the senior US official said Washington does not have the exact number.

“We can confirm a number of Russian generals killed; I’ve seen numbers all over the place and the Ukrainians are certainly talking about that,” the official said.

“We know that there have been senior leaders, Russian generals who have been killed, but we're staying away from an exact number.”

Washington has sent more weapons deliveries to Ukraine in the past few days and the official said that 14 US flights have carried equipment destined for the Ukrainian military to the region in the past 24 hours.

“Nearly all of the radars that were committed [to Kyiv] have been transferred to Ukraine,” the official added.

About 80 per cent of the 90 howitzer cannons pledged to Kyiv have been delivered and the US will soon begin training 200 Ukrainian troops in their use, the Pentagon said.

In a show of support, Speaker of the US House Nancy Pelosi led a surprise congressional delegation to Ukraine on Saturday to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy before heading to Poland for talks.

Updated: May 02, 2022, 8:09 PM
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