U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that Ukraine has already retaken about 50 percent of the territory that Russia initially seized, stressing that Kyiv’s counteroffensive is still in its “relatively early days.”
“In terms of what Russia sought to achieve, what [Russian President Vladimir] Putin sought to achieve, they’ve already failed. They’ve already lost. The objective was to erase Ukraine from the map, to eliminate its independence, its sovereignty, to subsume it into Russia. That failed a long time ago,” Blinken told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an interview on “GPS.”
“Now Ukraine is in a battle to get back more of the land that Russia seized from it. It’s already taken back about 50 percent of what was initially seized. Now they’re in a very hard fight to take back more,” Blinken said. “These are still relatively early days of the counteroffensive. It is tough.”
Blinken also projected optimism about Ukraine’s prospects in the counteroffensive, which it launched after months of preparation to retake land that Russia seized.
While the counteroffensive started off strong, Ukraine’s progress has slowed as it has quickly gone through its munitions and has had to navigate Russian minefields.
“The Russians have put in place strong defenses, but I’m convinced that with the equipment and support they’ve received now from more than 50 countries with the training that their forces have gotten, and many of the forces who’ve gotten that training have not yet been put fully into this fight– and maybe more than anything else, with the fact that unlike the Russians, Ukrainians are fighting for their land, for their future, for their country, for their freedom. I think that is the decisive element, and that’s going to play out,” Blinken told Zakaria.
“But it will not play out over the next week or two. We’re still looking, I think, at several months,” he added.
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