The long-awaited and much hyped Ukrainian counteroffensive has, so far, not yielded any significant territorial gains, and furthermore has led to the destruction of heaps of military equipment and to massive human losses.
That is helping to sink the popular support for the Nazi-friendly Kiev regime in the Western nations that are sustaining the brunt of the financial effort for this war.
Now, as Ukraine decides to abandon the NATO-taught strategies of attack, serious dissent is starting to play a part in their relationship with the Western handlers.
The New York Times reported:
“Equipped with advanced American weapons and heralded as the vanguard of a major assault, the troops became bogged down in dense Russian minefields under constant fire from artillery and helicopter gunships. Units got lost. One unit delayed a nighttime attack until dawn, losing its advantage. Another fared so badly that commanders yanked it off the battlefield altogether.
[…] Now the Western-trained Ukrainian brigades are trying to turn things around, U.S. officials and independent analysts say. Ukrainian military commanders have changed tactics, focusing on wearing down the Russian forces with artillery and long-range missiles instead of plunging into minefields under fire. A troop surge is underway in the country’s south, with a second wave of Western-trained forces launching mostly small-scale attacks to punch through Russian lines.”
The brief training in complex Western battle maneuvers was no match in the face of the formidable Russian defenses and the overwhelming artillery power.
“Ukraine’s decision to change tactics is a clear signal that NATO’s hopes for large advances made by Ukrainian formations armed with new weapons, new training and an injection of artillery ammunition have failed to materialize, at least for now.”
One cannot help but question the validity of the fast and superficial training that the Ukrainians received from Western countries.
Michael Kofman, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: “Arguably, the problem was in the assumption that with a few months of training, Ukrainian units could be converted into fighting more the way American forces might fight, leading the assault against a well-prepared Russian defense, rather than helping Ukrainians fight more the best way they know how.”
The Russians are doing what they excel at: they fight a war of attrition, much as they did to overcome Napoleon and Hitler. Were it not for the historical level of military and economic aid to Ukraine, they’d have won a long time ago, after having destroyed all Ukrainian capabilities.
Even with all that help, while Ukraine was doing a valorous job at defending itself, when it came to launching offensive actions, their shortcomings became increasingly clearer.
Ukraine’s relationship with its international partners is now facing inevitable tensions and differences of opinion. The west pledged to support Ukraine untill the end, “whatever it takes.” But will it?
“Most recently, tensions have emerged over Ukraine’s military strategy and demands on NATO. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is said to have angered some allies ahead of the most recent NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July, when he described the lack of a timetable over the thorny issue of alliance membership, and “conditions” that needed to be met before an invitation to join was issued, as ‘absurd’.”
That was too bold a statement. Britain’s defense secretary, Ben Wallace, was driven to say that the UK ‘was not an Amazon warehouse’ to supply endless weaponry to Kyiv when it was given a ‘shopping list’.
U.S. officials were so annoyed that they considered watering down what Kyiv would be offered at the summit.
Jamie Shea former deputy assistant secretary general at NATO: “The Ukrainians are in a difficult situation. Obviously, they’re playing for their existential survival, they’re always going to be unsatisfied in terms of needing more and more more the whole time. [Meanwhile] the West will always consider that it’s doing its best. … The key thing is to manage that [discrepancy] and prevent it doing lasting damage, and I think the Vilnius summit at least managed to prevent it doing lasting damage.”
Besides the lack of appreciation, there’s also the lack of coordination of the military tactics.
Kyiv is also exasperated the U.S. when it decided to continue to submit some of its best troops to the ‘meat grinder’ in the futile defense of Bakhmut.
Konrad Muzyka, military intelligence specialist: “The Americans were encouraging, to put it mildly, the Ukrainians not to fight certain battles in the way that Russia wanted them to fight, as it could have long-term consequences in terms of manpower losses and artillery ammunition expenditure. However, for Kyiv, Bakhmut was more than a city. It was a symbol of Ukrainian defiance even though its strategic value was questionable.
[But] the result is that they’ve lost a lot of men, and very experienced personnel as well. They expedited a lot of artillery munition, which would otherwise be used for this counteroffensive, and lastly, they burned out a lot of barrels for their guns, meaning they are unable to fully support their forces in the Bakhmut area.”