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Throughout their counteroffensive, Ukrainian troops have managed to attack through Russia's first main defensive belt in some areas along the front lines, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said in an interview with Al-Mamlaka TV, a Jordanian public broadcaster, published on Aug. 25.
"Specifically on the axes of advance that (Ukrainian forces) are attacking right now, (Ukrainian forces) have attacked through the main defense belt," Milley said.
The chairman noted that Russian troops have been preparing a deep line of defense for many months and it has "mine fields, dragon's teeth, and tank ditches. It's a very complex set of defensive preparations that the Ukrainians are fighting through."
CNN also reported on Aug. 25, citing Ukraine's General Staff, that there are signs Ukrainian troops have broken through Russian defenses along the southern front line in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
Milley told Al-Mamlaka that “it’s too early to say” whether Ukraine’s counteroffensive has succeeded or failed, calling the push “very bloody, slow, long and difficult.”
He added that after having liberated “a considerable part" of lands occupied by Russia, Ukrainian forces have a “significant amount of power remaining, and it’s not over yet.”
Responding to criticism of the pace of the West’s military support to Ukraine, the general said that Kyiv had received “what they needed when they needed it,” mentioning the provision of anti-tank weapons at the start of the full-scale war as an example of allegedly timely assistance.
Ukraine’s counteroffensive has been ongoing in the east and south of the country since early June.
On Aug. 4, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said that the Ukrainian military had passed through the Russian first line of defense, moving to the "intermediate one" in some places on the southern front line.
"And there they are faced with concrete engineering fortifications on the dominant heights created by the enemy. This, of course, complicates the movement of our troops and the combat actions," Maliar said on national television.