Russia not inclined to withdraw from other occupied areas of Ukraine, heavy battles ahead - Pentagon

Russia not inclined to withdraw from other occupied areas of Ukraine, heavy battles ahead - Pentagon

The liberation of Kherson from the Russian invaders was a significant achievement for Ukraine, but the Russian Federation is not going to voluntarily depart from the rest of the occupied territories, so tough fighting is ahead.

That’s according to a U.S. senior defense official, Ukrinform reports citing the Pentagon's press release.

"The most significant development over the weekend was the Russian military's withdrawal from Kherson City and the west bank of the Dnipro River," the official said. "While we continue to monitor, we do assess that Russian forces have relocated onto the eastern side of the river and established their defensive lines, thus ceding a significant amount of territory to the Ukrainians to include your Kherson City," the official said.

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The Pentagon official noted that, despite the successes of the Armed Forces of Ukraine at the front lines, the Russian Federation is not going to pull out from the remaining territories it has occupied.

"The Russians don't appear inclined to depart the rest of occupied Ukraine, [and] there's undoubtedly still tough fighting ahead," the official said. "But the liberation [of] Kherson City is a significant accomplishment and a testament to the grit, determination and tenacity of the Ukrainian people and their armed forces as they fight to defend their nation."

According to the official, as winter approaches, fighting in Ukraine might slow, but plans for U.S. support are not predicted to slow, “as this support is not predicated on weather, but on what the Ukrainians say they need.”

"We will continue to work with them, alongside our international allies and our partners, to ensure that they have what they need to succeed on the battlefield," the official said. We're prepared to do that for as long as it takes." 

Read also: Zelensky about repatriations: Russia will have to pay for what it has committed

The Pentagon noted that Russian missile and drone strikes had slowed somewhat since late October, but the Russians continue to strike civilian infrastructure, including Ukrainian power grids.

"Air defense continues to be a priority for the Ukrainians," the official said. "This continues for us to be an area of discussion in terms of how the United States and the international community can continue to support them when it comes to their defense needs." 

As reported by Ukrinform, last week the U.S. announced an additional package of defense aid for Ukraine, which is estimated at US$400 million.

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