Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday that the U.S. is not sure when Russia will launch a “full-on offensive” in eastern Ukraine.
Kirby was asked about French officials saying a “full-on offensive” could happen in the coming days.
Kirby noted the U.S. has seen Russian forces regroup in the eastern Donbas region as Russia has failed to capture any major Ukrainian cities and withdrew forced from around the capital Kyiv.
“So, it’s already — you can see them already sort of trying to shape the environment. Unclear exactly when full-on offensive operations might occur,” Kirby stated.
Kirby said it’s difficult to predict what comes next in the war, as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s objectives are unclear.
He laid out three possibilities: Russian forces capture the Donbas and use the win to declare victory and end the fighting, secure Donbas and use it to negotiate broader concessions from Ukraine, or capture the region and use it as a launching point to go “further and deeper into Ukraine.”
“We’re just not sure. But what we are sure is, we’re going to make sure Ukraine can defend itself and defend all its territory,” Kirby said.
The war has been raging for more than a month as Ukraine’s military puts up a far stronger fight than Western intelligence expected.
President Biden said on Wednesday the U.S. will be giving Ukraine another $800 million in weapons, including helicopters and howitzers.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has continued urging the U.S. to do more to help his country’s fight through military support and efforts to isolate Russia economically.