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The Pentagon said Tuesday that it had seen several Russian forces, “especially in the northeast, in the Kharkiv region,” crossing the border back into their country in the face of the Ukrainian offensive.
At a press conference, DOD spokesman Pat Ryder said Russian troops are still “en masse” in Ukraine.
On the counteroffensive, Ryder noted that since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24th of this year, Ukraine has demonstrated “remarkable adaptability” and is effectively using the resources at its disposal.
“Therefore, we are not surprised that they pushed (for a Russian withdrawal) so quickly,” he said. And he added that if anyone is surprised by the Ukrainian advance in Kharkiv, it is the Russians.
The Russian withdrawal from the Ukrainian region of Kharkiv, which borders the Donbas, opens a new phase of the war in which the Ukrainian Army takes the reins of military actions both in the east and in the south of the country and makes some in Russia think of a possible mobilization.
The Russian Ministry of Defense, which has refused to recognize the withdrawal from Kharkiv and calls this operation a “regrouping,” assured today that its missile and artillery forces are launching “massive” attacks in all operational directions, including the east and south.
Since before the start of the conflict, the U.S. has been sending Ukraine military assistance.
Last week, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenski on an unannounced visit to the European country and announced new aid worth nearly $3 billion.
The Department of State informed in a statement that Blinken told Zelenski of two new aid packages worth 675 million for arms, ammunition, and defense equipment at the meeting.
He further explained that Congress had been notified of the intention to make an additional $2.2 billion in long-term investments to strengthen the security of Ukraine and 18 of its neighbors.