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NATO Commander-in-Chief Says Russian Troop Numbers Are Insufficient for Breakthrough in Kharkiv

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO’s top commander said on Thursday he did not believe the Russian military had deployed enough troops to achieve a strategic breakthrough in the northeastern Kharkiv region. ‘Ukraine.

General Christopher Cavoli, NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, expressed confidence in the ability of Ukrainian forces to maintain their lines in the region.

Last week, Russia opened a new front in the war in Ukraine when small groups of highly mobile units quickly crossed the border into the Kharkiv region, forcing Ukraine to dispatch troops from other regions.

“The Russians do not have the manpower necessary to achieve a strategic breakthrough,” Cavoli told a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, following a meeting of military leaders from across the country. transatlantic alliance.

“More to the point, they lack the skills and capabilities to do so, to operate at the scale necessary to exploit any breakthrough to strategic advantage,” he added.

“They have the capacity to make local gains and they have succeeded in part. They have also suffered local losses.”

He gave no figures on the number of Russian troops deployed in the region.

Admiral Rob Bauer, chairman of NATO’s military committee, said at the news conference that he expected “serious improvements” soon in the amount of munitions Ukrainian forces would receive.

Russian forces have at times shelled Ukrainian troops at a ratio of 10 to one, officials say.

Ukraine’s ammunition shortage was partly due to a months-long delay in securing a major military aid package for Ukraine through the U.S. Congress.

Cavoli said Ukraine’s allies were now shipping “large quantities” of munitions and short-range air defense systems, as well as “significant quantities” of armored vehicles that would help combat Kharkiv’s advance.

“I am in very close contact with our Ukrainian colleagues. And I am convinced that they will stay the course,” he said.

(Reporting by Andrew Gray, Benoit Van Overstraeten and Tassilo Hummel; editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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