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NY Post
New York Post
1 Jul 2023

NextImg:Ukraine counteroffensive will take ‘very, long’ time and be ‘very very bloody,’ top US general says

Dozens of Ukrainian soldiers were killed in missile strikes as they crossed the Dnipro River amid a deadly counteroffensive, the Russian-appointed governor of the Kherson region in southern Ukraine said.

An Iskander missile, which is a short-range missile that travels at hypersonic speeds, killed at least 30 Ukrainian fighters and injured a dozen other, Vladimir Saldo said Friday on Telegram.

“The rest of them are hiding in summer houses on both sides of the bridge,” Saldo said.

The east bank of the Dnipro has been the scene of heavy fighting for nearly as week as Ukrainian troops have set up on the strategically important area of the bridge, CNN reported.

The deadly missile strike was the latest high-casualty incident in what is expected to be brutal months of fighting as Ukraine conducts its counteroffensive.

The Ukrainian counterattack, launched last month, is expected to be drawn out and “very bloody,” the top US general said Friday.

Progress in the Ukrainian counteroffensive has been moving slower than expected.

The push by Ukraine to retake by Russian-controlled territory has been “advancing steadily,” although progress has been slower than expected, with Ukrainian forces some days moving forward just one kilometer or less,” Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the National Press Club in Washington Friday.

The counterattack is also expected to have a high number of casualties and has forced Ukrainian forces to advance through minefields and trenches, Milley added.

“War on paper and real war are different. In real war, real people die,” Milley said. “Real people are on those front lines and real people are in those vehicles. Real bodies are being shredded by high explosives.”

Artillery strike
Ukrainian commander-in-chief Zaluzhny said he has just a fraction of the number of artillery rounds the Russians are using.

Milley predicted that the counteroffensive could take months.

“It’s going to be very long, and it’s going to be very, very bloody,” Milley said. “And no one should have any illusions about any of that.”

Meanwhile, the US is providing Ukraine with “as much help as humanly possible” despite recent comments from Ukrainian Commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny, Milley said.

Zaluzhny told the Washington Post that he is still waiting on F-16 fighters promised by Ukraine’s Western allies, who he said would never launch an offensive without air superiority.

“I do not need 120 planes. I’m not going to threaten the whole world. A very limited number would be enough,” Zuluzhny said.

Missile strike

At least 30 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a missile strike near the Dnipro River, the Kherson governor said.

The Ukrainian general also said it “pisses me off” when Western countries remark on the counteroffensive’s slow progress, adding that he is working with only a small portion of the artillery shells Russia is firing.

Zaluzhny went on to say he is in constant contact with Western allies, including Milley.

“We have an agreement: 24/7, we’re in touch,” Zaluzhny said. “So, sometimes I can call up and say, ‘If I don’t get 100,000 shells in a week, 1,000 people will die. Step in my shoes.’

However, Zaluzhny said Milley is not the sole decision-maker and any wasted time may mean more deaths.

“It’s just that while that decision is being made, in the obvious situation, a lot of people die every day – a lot,” Zaluzhny said.