A top NATO general says Russian troops don't have the numbers or the skills to mount a strategic breakthrough in Kharkiv

  • A top NATO general says Russia won't be able to achieve a "strategic breakthrough" in Kharkiv.

  • US Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli said Russia just doesn't have the numbers or skills to pull it off.

  • Last month, Cavoli told Congress that the Russian army is 15% bigger than when it invaded Ukraine.

Russian forces are unlikely to achieve a "strategic breakthrough" in Ukraine's Kharkiv region, a top NATO general said on Thursday.

"The Russians don't have the numbers necessary to do a strategic breakthrough," US Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, told reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels, per Reuters.

"More to the point, they don't have the skill and the capability to do it, to operate at the scale necessary to exploit any breakthrough to strategic advantage," Cavoli continued.

Last week, Russia launched an assault on the northeastern city of Kharkiv, with troops pouring across the border into the region. Ukraine was forced to withdraw its troops from several villages in Kharkiv after sustaining heavy fire from the Russians.

While the Russians did make some "local advances" in Kharkiv, Cavoli said he is confident that the Ukrainians "will hold the line."

Representatives for the Ukrainian and Russian defense ministries did not immediately respond to requests for comment from BI sent outside regular business hours.

The past few months have been a tenuous period for Ukraine as it struggles to repel Russia's incursion.

US military support for Ukraine was held back for months after Republicans delayed the passage of a legislative bill to funnel aid. On April 20, the House of Representatives finally approved more than $60 billion in assistance to Ukraine.

But the aid will provide little immediate relief to the Ukrainians, who could still face increased attacks from Russia in the meantime.

"These requirements and the logistics of transporting US materiel to the frontline in Ukraine will likely mean that new US assistance will not begin to affect the situation on the front line for several weeks," the Institute for the Study of War said in a report last month.

The US think tank said Ukraine would "suffer additional setbacks in the coming weeks," though its forces should still be able "to blunt the current Russian offensive assuming the resumed US assistance arrives promptly."

On the other hand, Russia appears to have maintained its strength after battling the Ukrainians for over two years.

During a House Armed Services Committee hearing on April 10, Cavoli said that the Russian army is now 15% bigger than when it invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

"In sum, Russia is on track to command the largest military on the continent," Cavoli said. "Regardless of the outcome of the war in Ukraine, Russia will be larger, more lethal, and angrier with the West than when it invaded."

Read the original article on Business Insider