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Bloomberg: Ukrainian army collapse 'cannot be ruled out,' US official says

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 12, 2024 2:15 PM 2 min read
Soldiers of the 58th Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian army wait for a lift to position in LAV M113 as Russian attacks on the city of Vuhledar continue in Donetsk Oblast on Dec. 1, 2023. (Andre Alves/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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The possibility of a collapse of Ukraine's army "cannot be ruled out" and Ukraine is at its "most fragile moment in over two years of war," according to U.S. officials, Bloomberg reported on April 11.

Ukraine's position on the battlefield has been weakened in recent months by a dire shortage of ammunition, exacerbated by an ongoing impasse in Congress over U.S. aid to Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with CBS News that a new major Russian offensive may come at the end of May or in June.

According to the official, who spoke to Bloomberg on condition of anonymity, the U.S. "doesn't see any signs of an imminent breakthrough by Russian forces."

Ukraine is, however, at its "most fragile moment in over two years of war, according to Western officials with knowledge of the situation," Bloomberg said.

Meanwhile, Russia has largely replaced its heavy battlefield losses in Ukraine, and at a much faster pace than anticipated, U.S. General Christopher Cavoli warned on April 11.

"Russia is reconstituting that force far faster than our initial estimates suggested," Cavoli wrote in a statement to Congress. "The army is actually now larger — by 15 percent — than it was when it invaded Ukraine."

A key risk is a collapse of Ukraine's defenses, which would give Russia an "opening to make a major advance for the first time since the initial stages of the conflict," Bloomberg said, citing talks with multiple officials.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on April 12 that the government has allocated an additional Hr 3.88 billion (almost $100 million) for the construction of fortifications, primarily in Kharkiv and Sumy oblasts, which border Russia.

The Ukrainian government already allocated Hr 20 billion ($512 million) for building fortifications in 2024, Shymhal said in January.

The Wall Street Journal reported in March that although Ukrainian troops are building fortifications in expectation of another Russian offensive, there are concerns that the progress is not fast enough.

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Adil Muhammad, a Somali, sits in a Russian military uniform among other prisoners of war (POWs) in a press conference in Ukraine’s capital in mid-March. The former infantryman was captured in combat near Marinka in Donetsk Oblast while fighting with the Russian army in Ukraine in early 2024, five
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