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Russia Ukraine conflict

Russia’s Putin still looking to capture all of Ukraine, senior Pentagon official says

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said he did not think Putin could achieve those objectives.

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Russia’s Vladimir Putin is still looking to capture all of Ukraine, a senior Pentagon official said Tuesday but voiced doubts that the Kremlin would be able to succeed in doing so.

“I still think he has designs on a significant portion of Ukraine, if not the whole country,” Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said during an event with the Center for New American Security (CNAS). Kahl added: “I do not think he can achieve those objectives.”

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The Pentagon official noted that Washington sensed that Putin had still not changed his overall objectives since the most recent invasion of Ukraine started in February. Putin has, according to Kahl, been forced to narrow his operational objectives to focus on the east of Ukraine.

Nevertheless, Kahl did admit that Russia was making some gains in some parts of Ukraine, particularly the south. “They are not large, sweeping breakthroughs of Ukrainian defenses,” he said.

Washington, which has provided billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, will continue to do so, and new assistance will arrive soon.

The latest tranche of weapons included Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS.

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl speaks during an event with the Center for New American Security, June 14, 2022. (Screengrab)
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl speaks during an event with the Center for New American Security, June 14, 2022. (Screengrab)

Ukrainians are still being trained on both “as we speak,” Kahl said, before adding that it had become more challenging to resupply Ukrainian forces with the artillery needed for Soviet-era systems being used by Kyiv.

This is why the US decided to transition to systems compatible and capable of being resupplied by NATO allies. He said HIMARS systems were expected to be “get into the fight” soon once training was completed.

Overall, Putin has so far failed to achieve his strategic objectives, Kahl said. “Vladimir Putin went into this war seeking to gobble Ukraine up.”

Read more: New round of US sanctions on Russia targets Putin allies, govt officials

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