In a recent update on the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley stated that Ukraine's counteroffensive has successfully breached the first line of Russian defense. However, he noted that progress has been "bloody, long, and slow," which is not uncommon in war.
Milley described the first defensive line as a complex set of preparations that the Russians spent months constructing, including minefields, tank ditches, and dragon's teeth. Despite the slower speed of the counteroffensive, Ukraine is making steady progress, advancing 400-500 meters or sometimes up to 1,000 meters per day. They have also managed to liberate a considerable portion of Russian-occupied Ukraine.
While it is still too early to determine the overall success or failure of the counteroffensive, Milley acknowledged that it has had partial success. He acknowledged that removing the hundreds of thousands of Russian troops from Ukraine will be challenging but emphasized that Ukraine still possesses a significant amount of combat power.
Recent assessments have indicated sustained progress for Ukraine's counteroffensive. The Zaporizhzhia region in the south, in particular, has seen gradual gains for Ukraine. This information has been corroborated by Ukraine's military, Russian military bloggers, the UK Department of Defense, and the Institute for the Study of War.
One Russian blogger even expressed frustration, stating that "the bastards are rapidly advancing, covered by artillery strikes." The Institute for the Study of War confirmed that Ukrainian forces have advanced closer to the Russian second line of defense in the Robotyne area, further expanding their breach of Russian defensive lines.
The assessment from the Institute for the Study of War also highlighted Russia's lack of operational reserves, which will likely force the Russian command to redeploy as the Ukrainian counteroffensive continues to weaken defending Russian forces.
Overall, the situation in Ukraine remains tense and fluid, with the counteroffensive making progress but facing significant challenges. Both sides continue to engage in military operations, and the ultimate outcome of the conflict is yet to be determined.