A senior Pentagon official said Thursday that the war in Ukraine could continue for a long time, despite Kiev forces recapturing the Kharkiv region and providing them with sufficient US artillery.
The official warned against analysts that Russian forces had expanded into power and could reach a point in a few weeks where they could no longer move forward.
“It is difficult to know where it will go over time,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Officials praised the Ukrainian forces for their command and control, solidarity and consciousness, and called it “nothing less than historic” compared to the Russian forces.
However, the official said the Russians still possessed a numerical advantage and a “significant amount” of reserved combat capability, and held their ground on the long front to the south and west of Donbass towards Mykolive.
“Combined with all this, we are talking about a region of Ukraine where these two sides have been fighting for eight years, forcing us to believe that this could be a protracted war,” the official said.
Some respected military analysts have suggested that Russian forces could run out of steam next week.
The Russian military has “reached its high-water mark in Ukraine,” writes former Australian Army General Mick Ryan, while Moscow’s forces are “suffering … physically, morally and intellectually from within.”
“Russian options are shrinking,” Michael Kaufman, head of Russia Studies at the CNA security think-tank in Washington, wrote last week.
“The more they drag their feet, the worse their ability to survive the war, and the worse their next options,” Kaufman said.
And one analyst who posted a well-known, detailed daily update on the war situation on Twitter under the pseudonym “Jomini of the West” cited a “final point” concept by military theorist Carl von Klauswitz, the pinnacle of military power. Which cannot sustain his attack.
The analyst writes that “Russian forces may be approaching a point where they will have no choice but to take offensive steps to carry out more comprehensive reforms to rebuild the damage caused by the war.”
A Pentagon official said Russian forces were facing “constant difficulties” in sustaining their offensive.
“The fighting power itself cannot win the war. You have to have the will to fight, you have to have good leadership. You have to have command and control and they are suffering from it,” the official said.
But officials say that since Ukrainian forces recently drove the Russians away from Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, neither side is making big gains on their long front.
“It’s a knife fight,” the official said, referring to close quarters fighting and shelling on the battle lines between Donbass and Kherson and Mykolive.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)