“The command and control apparatus at the strategic level is certainly confusing at best and potentially challenging,” Milley said.
Milley said the aftermath of the mutiny, in addition to logistical problems, “heavy” officer casualties and poor training, contributed to the erosion of morale among the Russian forces.
Milley said Russian forces have several months to bolster their defenses in Ukraine, including laying complex minefields, installing barbed wire and digging trenches. But Ukraine is working across the front lines “slowly and deliberately”.
Kiev has so far struggled to regain significant territory during the long-awaited counter-offensive, but Milley made it clear that Ukrainian forces were “maintaining their fighting strength” and had not sent their best soldiers.
“This is going to be long, it’s going to be hard, and it’s going to be bloody,” predicted Mellie. But “this is far from a failure, in my opinion.”
Milley said the main challenge facing Ukrainian forces is the minefields, which force soldiers to move slowly. The coalition is focused on providing Ukrainian equipment to help clear and defend those mines, as well as air defenses to guard against Russian air attacks.
Milley’s comments echo those made by another senior Pentagon official last week. Colin Kahl, who recently left his position as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, told reporters that Ukraine has not yet utilized “the majority of its fighting strength.”
Ukraine’s strategy, Kahl said, is to deliberately search Russian lines for weak points across the east and south.
“I think the real test will be when they identify vulnerabilities or create vulnerabilities and create a breach,” Cal said. “How quickly can they exploit that with the fighting power they have in reserve and how quickly can the Russians respond?”
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