In an interview at Bloomberg, Chief of Staff for the Defense Intelligence Agency described the Ukraine war as a “stalemate” before running through a recent list of NATO-provided weaponry to point out that none of it would make a very large difference in allowing them to break through Russian lines in their ongoing counterattack.
“Certainly we are at a bit of a stalemate,” DIA Chief of Staff John Kirchhofer said at a conference on Thursday, according to Bloomberg. “One of the things that the Russian leadership believes is that they can outlast the support of the West”.
The comments arrive after US and EU defense officials speaking anonymously told the New York Times that as much as 20% of the armored vehicles and artillery they began the offensive with. The dismal performance, which is “not meeting expectations on any front,” according to other officials, was nevertheless encouraged by Sect. of State Antony Blinken in June 2023 when he said America was against a ceasefire, and that President Biden was going to help Ukraine meet its needs on the battlefield and all future security needs.
Following the Ukrainian military’s exceptional display of tactics and perseverance in the summer of 2022, when they were able to liberate Kharkhiv and roll back Russian control of literally thousands of square miles of territory, General Mark Milley, the US Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff suggested the defenders negotiate a peace agreement as soon as possible.
“There has to be a mutual recognition that military victory is probably — in the true sense of the word — is maybe not achievable through military means, and therefore you have to turn to other means,” Milley said. “When there’s an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved, seize it. Seize the moment”.
It irritated the Biden and Zelenskyy administrations, and was portrayed in the media at the time as if Gen. Milley was speaking out of line. Weapons and ammunition poured into Ukraine as a belief was fostered through media and government that Ukraine could liberate the whole country, even Crimea, contrary to Milley’s assessment.
Such gains never materialized, and months later in 2023, the top-secret Pentagon Documents known as the Discord Leaks were published in the Washington Post revealing that the Defense Department didn’t believe Ukraine would regain any significant amount of territory as part of a second counteroffensive.
Now, the comments by Kirchhof echo these earlier assertions by military experts that Ukraine is in over its head, but that this is not reflected in the decisions of Congress—to continue arming them with billions in aid as part of the recently-passed House version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2024, or of the executive—with his recent and controversial decision to arm the Ukrainians with cluster bombs that will continue to kill and maim civilians for decades to come.
When Gen. Milley made the point about negotiations, he used the example of the stalemate on the Western Front in World War 1—as a war which could have been ended sooner, but didn’t, resulting in not only millions more deaths, but no meaningful change in outcome. WaL
PICTURED ABOVE: A column of supposed Ukrainian armor destroyed in the opening stages of the recent counterattack. Date and place unverified. PC: Russian Defense Ministry, handout via Reuters.