Pentagon says Russians ‘increasingly frustrated’
2/26/2022, 9:47 p.m
The US government is spreading its view of the military progress in Ukraine. Accordingly, the Russian armed forces are struggling and are “increasingly frustrated”. More than half of the combat troops previously assembled at the border are now in Ukraine.
The Russian military offensive in Ukraine is making slower progress than Moscow expected, according to a senior US Defense Department official. “The resistance is greater than the Russians expected,” the Pentagon representative said in a briefing for journalists. Referring to the advance towards the capital Kiev, he said: “We have indications that the Russians are becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress over the past 24 hours, particularly in northern Ukraine.”
Ukrainian troops put up “resolute resistance,” he said, according to a transcript released by the Pentagon. As of Saturday afternoon (CET), there was no evidence that the Russians had managed to capture a larger city. A representative of the Ministry of Defense said on Friday: “According to our estimates, the Ukrainians are putting up more resistance than the Russians had expected.”
According to the information, the Russian armed forces have now invaded Ukraine with “tens of thousands” of soldiers. The Russians now have “more than 50 percent” of their combined combat forces on Ukrainian territory, the Pentagon official said. “I think it’s safe to assume this is in the tens of thousands, but I won’t be specific.”
Russia has gathered more than 150,000 troops around Ukraine. In addition to the combat units, this also included units for logistics and other tasks. It can now be assumed that more than half of the combat troops are on Ukrainian territory. On Friday, the Pentagon had assumed a third.
The Russians concentrated their attacks further north on the advance on the capital Kiev, in the east on the city of Kharkiv, in the south on Mariupol and Cherson. The heaviest fighting is currently in and around Kharkiv, he said. So far, the Russian armed forces have fired around 250 rockets at targets in Ukraine. It was mostly short-range missiles. Contrary to Russian claims, the projectiles “without a doubt” also hit “civilian infrastructure and residential areas,” he said, according to a Pentagon transcript. It is unclear whether this is intentional or accidental.