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Ukraine faces series of retreats – Pentagon

Regardless of setbacks, the US will not send its soldiers to the country, a spokesperson stressed

The Pentagon expects Ukraine to make retreats in the conflict with Russia, a Pentagon spokesperson said on Thursday, while urging Congress to resume military aid to Kiev.

The Ukrainian leadership is facing “really hard, tough decisions” due to the US failure to send more arms to the country, Sabrina Singh told journalists during a briefing.

”Ukraine right now is having to make strategic decisions about having to withdraw from certain areas in order to fortify their defensive lines,” she noted.

The government of President Vladimir Zelensky has declared the full takeover of territories that Kiev claims as its own as the only acceptable outcome of its conflict with Russia. The Ukrainian leader has repeatedly rejected advice from Pentagon officials to pull back its forces in certain areas.

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In the case of Artyomovsk, which Ukrainians call Bakhmut, Zelensky initially declared the Donbass city a “fortress” and repeatedly sent in reinforcements, instead of pulling his troops back – until Russia took control of the city last May.

Some military experts have argued that the move significantly undermined the Ukrainian push against Russian defensive lines later that year. Kiev’s forces have suffered from high attrition rates in the so-called counteroffensive, with over 90,000 troops lost, and have not achieved their objectives, according to Moscow.

Singh blamed Kiev’s recent setbacks on the battlefield to the failure of the US Congress to authorize an additional $60 billion in military assistance to Ukraine. The proposal has been stuck in the House for months due to Republican opposition.

The official was commenting on a debate in the EU, sparked by French President Emmanuel Macron, who argued last month that NATO states could eventually send their own troops into Ukraine to prevent a Russian victory. Singh reiterated the White House policy that “there will be no [US] boots on the ground” in the embattled country.

READ MORE: Russia is at war – Kremlin

Moscow has warned that the flow of Western arms to Kiev makes the US and its allies parties to the conflict. The weapons will not change its outcome, Russian officials have said.


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