White House: Russia’s Kharkiv offensive over as Ukrainian forces hold ground

John Kirby, the White House’s national security spokesperson, delivered this assessment during a press briefing on Friday, crediting the flow of U.S. military aid for altering the trajectory of the intense fighting around Kharkiv, where Russian forces had mounted a major push around mid-May.

In a significant development on the battlefields of Northeastern Ukraine, the White House has declared that Russia’s much-vaunted offensive in the Kharkiv region has effectively ground to a halt, hampered by the unyielding resistance of Ukrainian forces bolstered by the arrival of American weapons.

John Kirby, the White House’s national security spokesperson, delivered this assessment during a press briefing on Friday, crediting the flow of U.S. military aid for altering the trajectory of the intense fighting around Kharkiv, where Russian forces had mounted a major push around mid-May.

Kirby’s remarks underscore the pivotal role played by the timely delivery of American weapons systems, which have empowered Ukraine’s defenders to blunt the Russian onslaught and deny Moscow’s forces the ability to make further territorial gains in the strategically vital Kharkiv region.

Despite this positive development, the White House spokesman cautioned that Ukraine remains under immense pressure, and the situation on the ground remains precarious. However, he noted that the assessment of Russia’s stalled offensive was shared by both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and President Joe Biden during their meeting in France on Friday, where they gathered to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Significantly, Biden reportedly apologized to Zelenskyy for the months-long delay in the delivery of new U.S. military aid to Ukraine, a delay that both Washington and Kyiv have acknowledged enabled Russian advances across multiple fronts, including in Kharkiv and the embattled Donetsk region.

The White House’s assessment comes as Russia’s offensive in Kharkiv, launched as Ukraine was just beginning to receive the latest tranche of American assistance, appears to have faltered in the face of stiff Ukrainian resistance. Moscow had sought to exploit the temporary lull in weapons deliveries to seize additional territory before the aid arrived in full force.

Despite capturing several towns and initially advancing toward the city of Kharkiv itself, Russian forces now find themselves locked in intense fighting north of the regional capital, embroiled in major battles around the town of Vovchansk and unable to break through Ukraine’s defensive lines.

As the conflict rages on, the White House’s declaration that Russia’s Kharkiv offensive is “all but over” stands as a testament to the resilience of Ukraine’s armed forces and the critical role played by Western military aid in stemming the tide of Russian aggression, at least in this pivotal theatre of operations.