In compiling various reports on the ongoing Ukrainian offensive, now in its 10th week, it seems very likely that there are no future victories for Ukraine, with some units withdrawing from the front after 85% casualties, US and allies wavering whether to continue militaristic support, and even Ukrainian leadership divided about the best course of action.
It started on Wednesday, with a Newsweek report that civilian officials within the Ukrainian leadership feel the best course of action is to consolidate the meager gains and halt the counterattack to replenish supply—while preparing for a Russian attack they believe would then be forthcoming.
“On the military side, you have [Commander in Chief] Zaluzhnyi and others—but obviously he’s in command—who want to keep pushing,” one source close to the Ukrainian government told Newsweek on the condition of anonymity. “There are some questions on the political side about whether that makes the most sense right now. Or does it make sense to consolidate where possible in some areas, and relieve pressure on supply lines and stockpiles?”
Faced with the terrible necessity to decide either to commit all and risk a potentially disastrous military defeat or save what military resources remain, withdraw from the attack, and risk an equally-disastrous political blow, Zelenskyy’s cabinet has fractured at a critical time if Newsweek’s source is correct.
On Thursday, POLITICO reported on a townhall event held by co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, Andy Harris (R – MD) who admitted that he believes the war is at best a stalemate, and those with power to influence the matter should now press Zelenskyy to seek a rewarding peace agreement. Harris is a staunch supporter of the war against Russia, but is also a member of the Freedom Caucus which is almost entirely against it.
“I’ll be blunt, it’s failed. I’m not sure it’s winnable anymore,” he told his constituents. “I think the time has come to realistically call for peace talks. I know President Zelenskyy doesn’t want it, but President Zelenskyy, without our help, he would abjectly lose the war. And with our help, he’s not winning. It’s a stalemate now”.
His major qualm was the cost, and the comments came standing in front of a chart with national debt predictions. The US Congress has authorized $113 billion officially in Ukraine aid, while President Biden has repeatedly piled onto that with executive drawdown authority that allows him to ship off the US military’s own weapons and ammunition to allies in combat.
The White House recently requested an additional $24 billion in supplementary, or unappropriated funding, for Ukraine.
When asked if he would support another batch of spending on the war, Harris said, “If there is humanitarian monies, nonmilitary monies, or military monies without an inspector general, I’m not supporting it”. The request from Biden contains all three.
ABC News spoke with two American mercenaries that went to fight Russia on a contract from the Ukrainian government on the state of the counteroffensive, and their stories were of horrendous casualties, inadequate training and preparation, and foolish generalship.
Both were sitting in a Kyiv hospital waiting for transfer to Germany for medical treatment to remove shrapnel from their bodies.
Given a mission to seize a village on the outskirts of Donestk City, their attack saw the unit lose 85% killed and wounded, with so many unable to rejoin the fight that the unit was disbanded.
According to the Americans, the Russians they came up against were a “very professional force,” and “very organized”.
Another “Western man” contracted with the Ukrainian army was also injured in an attack in June which he criticized as “disorganized”.
“We lost three Leopards (advanced German-made tanks) in one day because they were just told to drive forward into a minefield,” he told ABC. He added that his battalion was also 80% wounded, though amazingly hadn’t suffered any fatalities.
This man also reported the ability to use Western equipment such as a Bradley fighting vehicle seemed rudimentary.
“It seems like they (Ukrainian soldiers) have been taught to use them but not to employ them (effectively) in a tactical sense (on the battlefield),” he said.
A Ukrainian official who spoke with ABC in the same report urged the US to send long-range missile artillery platforms known as ATACAMS to the front as fast as possible. With a range of 190 miles, the Americans haven’t supplied them because of a fear they’d be used to target places inside Russia.
The Zelenskyy Regime has promised only to use them against military targets in Ukraine, but according to the US State Department, the Crimean Peninsula is Ukraine, and Russia have threatened nuclear retaliation for any significant attacks against Crimea which they consider to be one of the most strategically important military facilities as it allows their navy access to the Black Sea.
As Antiwar News, and WaL have reported before, American officials both civilian and military knew that the counterattack wouldn’t succeed, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken encouraged them to go through with it anyway, since he publically rejected any notion of a peace agreement organized by the US or any other nation as a de facto reward for the conquerer. WaL
PICTURED ABOVE: The 93rd Mechanized Brigade showing a destroyed Bakhmut during winter of February 2023. PC: Ukrainian Armed Forces, Facebook.