According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Ukraine forces have now retaken half of the territory claimed by Russia as the counteroffensive continues.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that Ukraine has already retaken about 50 percent of the territory seized by Russia and that the counteroffensive is still in its “relatively early days.”
“In terms of what Russia sought to achieve, what Putin sought to achieve, they’ve already failed. They’ve already lost. The objective was to erase Ukraine from the map, to eliminate its independence, its sovereignty, to subsume it into Russia. That failed a long time ago,” Blinken told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an interview on “GPS.”
“Now Ukraine is in a battle to get back more of the land that Russia seized from it. It’s already taken back about 50 percent of what was initially seized. Now they’re in a very hard fight to take back more,” Blinken said. “These are still relatively early days of the counteroffensive. It is tough.”
Blinken projected optimism about Ukraine’s prospects in the counteroffensive attack, which it launched after months of preparation to retake land that Russia seized.
There's still a long way to go however.
While the counteroffensive started off strong, Ukraine’s progress has slowed as it has quickly gone through its munitions and has had to navigate Russian minefields.
“The Russians have put in place strong defenses, but I’m convinced that with the equipment and support they’ve received now from more than 50 countries, with the training that their forces have gotten, and many of the forces who’ve gotten that training have not yet been put fully into this fight — and maybe more than anything else, with the fact that unlike the Russians, Ukrainians are fighting for their land, for their future, for their country, for their freedom. I think that is the decisive element, and that’s going to play out,” Blinken said.
“But it will not play out over the next week or two. We’re still looking, I think, at several months,” he added.
Remember that the EU has basically given Ukraine until September to show progress. This is definitely progress if Kyiv can keep and hold it. Besides, the EU has no choice if Moscow is blocking grain shipments out of Ukraine, and Putin this weekend all but threatened to invade Poland next.
President Vladimir Putin on Friday accused NATO member Poland of having territorial ambitions in the former Soviet Union, and said any aggression against Russia's neighbour and close ally Belarus would be considered an attack on Russia.
Moscow would react to any aggression against Belarus, which forms a loose "Union State" with Russia, "with all the means at our disposal", Putin told a meeting of his Security Council in televised remarks.
Warsaw's Security Committee decided on Wednesday to move military units to eastern Poland after members of the Russian Wagner mercenary force arrived in Belarus, the state-run news agency PAP quoted its secretary as saying on Friday.
Poland denies any territorial ambitions in Belarus.
In his remarks Putin had also stated that the western part of Poland was a gift from Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to the country and that Russia would remind Poles about it.
In apparent reference to that, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki tweeted on Friday evening that "Stalin was a war criminal, guilty of the death of hundreds of thousands of Poles. Historical truth is not debatable."
"The ambassador of the Russian Federation will be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs", he said.
On Thursday, Belarus said Wagner mercenaries had started to train Belarusian special forces at a military range just a few miles from the Polish border.
No wonder Putin is trying to distract everyone from how bad he's losing in Ukraine this summer.