The New York Times in a weekend story admitted that things look dire for the chances of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, acknowledging that President Zelensky had been forced to put it on “pause” at one point given
The story, titled “After Suffering Heavy Losses, Ukrainians Pause to Rethink Strategy,” still tried to put a positive spin on the serious situation for Kiev:
Part of the improvement came because Ukraine changed tactics, focusing more on wearing down Russian forces with artillery and long-range missiles to charge against minefields and enemy fire.
But this good news obscures some sad realities. Losses have also slowed because the counteroffensive itself has slowed down — and even stopped in some places — as Ukrainian soldiers battle Russia’s formidable defenses. And despite the losses, the Ukrainians So far they’ve only done five of the 60 miles they hope to cover to reach the sea to the south and split the Russian forces in two.
This after admitting that only within the first two weeks of the counteroffensive Ukrainian forces lost about 20% of the weaponry that had just been supplied by the West, including tanks and armored vehicles. The much vaunted offensive had begun in May, but it has not translated into big gains.
“This week, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, he acknowledged that there had been a brief pause in operations a few weeks ago, but blamed it on a lack of equipment and ammunition and called on Western allies to speed up the pace of deliveries,” wrote the time.
The report emphasized that the The Pentagon has since publicly acknowledged the “pause”but later added: “US officials acknowledged the pause and said the Ukrainians had begun to move again, but more deliberately, more adept at navigating minefields and aware of the risks of casualties.”
As for Zelensky, he told the nation on Friday that “We all need to understand very clearly, as clearly as possible, that Russian forces in our southern and eastern lands are doing their best to stop our soldiers.” He added: “And every thousand meters we advance, every success of every combat brigade deserves our thanks.”
Very quickly after the counteroffensive began last month, he admitted a “slower than expected” pace while complaining that more Western weapons and artillery are needed.
This, by the way, is not the first such admission: https://t.co/DgkWxjRFGE
— Aaron Mate (@aaronjmate) July 14, 2023
The start of the counteroffensive about two months ago was accompanied by dazzling Western media coverage of the rapid successes that would ensue. Even before that, most accounts of the battlefield situation were heavily skewed to fit a pro-Kiev and pro-Western narrative, but the reality has turned out to be much messier and, ultimately, illusory.