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Ukrainian commanders said that the counteroffensive is developing according to the plan, but the military has not yet deployed its full potential, ABC News wrote on July 5.
"So far things are developing according to plans that were drawn up and approved," said General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces.
According to General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, who commands the troops in the south, the situation is "stable" but Ukrainian forces "haven't reached (their) full potential."
Syrskyi voiced confidence that Ukraine will be able to retake Bakhmut as Defense Ministry reported advances on the city's southern flank on July 3. The celebrated commander said that Russia is suffering eight to 10 times as many losses as Ukraine across the battlefield.
Tarnavskyi added, however, that Russian forces set up strong defenses along the southern front line, protected by minefields and anti-tank weapons.
Both generals highlighted the value of Western armor and thanked the U.S. for its support. Foreign equipment also became a point of focus for Russian troops, however.
"The Russians specifically target Western equipment. They are trying to destroy as many vehicles as possible. It's a priority for them," Tarnavskyi said.
Some observers criticized the reportedly "slow" progress of the counteroffensive but this was rebutted by Ukrainian political and military leaders. According to Ukraine's Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the campaign is making advances every day.
At the moment, the strategic priority is "the maximum destruction" of Russian manpower and equipment, National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksii Danilov commented. Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that the many Western-trained reserve brigades are yet to be deployed in the counteroffensive.
The Institute for the Study of War wrote in its July 4 assessment that the pace of Ukraine's advance does not indicate a stalemate or inability to retake large territory.
The campaign is showing certain results as the Defense Ministry reported 37.4 square kilometers liberated only in the past week.