Ukraine has dismissed all its Deputy Defense Ministers in a reshuffling following the exit of Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, who was recently replaced by Rustem Umerov. The Head of the Ukraine National Security Council indicated Ukraine may pivot to a sea war to attack Crimea. Speaking to NBC’s Kristin Welker, President Donald Trump said that Ukraine could have avoided the war. “I just want people to stop being killed,” Trump said.
Kyiv Post claimed the dismissals are “standard procedure that occurs whenever the head of the ministry changes,” while at the same time reporting that Deputy Defense Minister denied his resignation and wanted to stay in office.
Public figure Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar was accused of “disseminating false information regarding the liberation of Andriivka (south of Bakhmut) by Ukrainian defenders,” Kyiv Post reported. Maliar explained that the misinformation stemmed from a breakdown in communication among several information sources. “I do not publish such information without coordination and agreement with the military. Currently, there is a communication breakdown among several information sources reporting directly from the scene.”
In an interview with CBS News President Volodymyr Zelensky ruled out any compromise solution to the territorial dispute with Russia: “No. This is our territory.”
Speaking to CNN, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley admitted that a Ukrainian victory in the war is a “very high bar” and would take a “very long time.”
“There’s well over 200,000 Russian troops in Russian-occupied Ukraine. This offensive, although significant, has operational and tactical objectives that are limited, in the sense that they do not — even if they are fully achieved — they don’t completely kick out all the Russians, which is the broader strategic objective that President Zelensky had,” Milley told CNN Sunday. “That’s going to take a long time to do that. That’s going to be very significant effort over a considerable amount of time,” he said.
The Financial Times reported that “the idea that Ukrainian forces, lacking any air cover, would storm through Russian lines was always going to be more of a Hollywood plotline than reality. But three months into the counteroffensive, Zelenskyy and his government are dealing with the reality that it has not achieved the desired decisive breakthrough — and are girding themselves for a drawn-out war.”
Ukrainian officials recognize that “the war will be a slow grind”, FT reports. “The question is whether Ukraine’s western backers, who have dug deep into their weapons stockpiles, are committed to giving the country the support and ammunition over the longer haul.“
As the counter-offensive on the Zaporizhiya front continues to inch forward faced with massive Russian defenses and heavy artillery and drone bombardment, Ukraine may be considering shifting its strategy to attacking in the Black Sea to threaten Crimea.
Writing in Ukrainska Pravda, Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council head Aleksey Danilov wrote that “the complete or partial elimination of the Russian Black Sea fleet, which is a solvable problem, would significantly accelerate the process of finding a way out of the war.”
Fearing a “slow unraveling of a carefully woven web of foreign assistance,” Danilov called for the Brandon Regime to bypass democratic elections and “enshrine military assistance to Ukraine in long-term cycles and legislation.”
Danilov will settle for nothing short of Regime change in Moscow, writing that “Putin and his war are a cancerous tumor” which must be “removed completely and permanently.”
The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that Ukraine lost 3000 men in the week of Sept. 9-16, putting Ukrainian losses in the counter-offensive at approx. 75,000 if the Russian claims are accurate. The advisor to the acting head of the Russian-occupied Donetsk People’s Republic (DRP), Yan Gagin, estimated that half a million Ukrainians have died.
Ukraine could have reached a peace deal with Russia before the conflict began, President Donald Trump told NBC News’ Kristen Welker Sunday. “That’s something that could have been negotiated,” Trump said. “Because there were certain parts, Crimea and other parts of the country, that a lot of people expected could happen. You could have made a deal. So they could have made a deal where there’s lesser territory right now than Russia’s already taken, to be honest. And you could have made a deal where nobody was killed. They had a deal. They would have had a Ukraine country. Now nobody even knows if Ukraine is going to be totally taken over.”
Trump noted that “something’s going on, and it’s not good for Ukraine. Because the news is no longer reporting about the war. The fake news. They don’t report about the war anymore. You don’t find much reporting. That means that Ukraine’s losing. Okay? I see very little reporting from NBC, your network. I see very little reporting from NBC, ABC, from CBS, from anyone about the war. It used to be you’d go and you’d watch, even a couple of months ago, you’d watch all of this great strategy. The Spring Offensive never happened. Ukraine’s Spring Offensive never happened, because they were met with a wall of armaments and bombs.”
“Here’s my attitude on the war: I just want people to stop being killed”, trump said. “You know, I was asked by that ridiculous CNN group during my town hall, “Whose side are you on?” I said, “I’m on the side of people stop being killed.” I don’t want to see people killed. They’re being killed by the thousands and thousands and thousands. And that’s the side I’m on, I don’t want — And you know what? People like that answer, to be honest. And I stay with that same answer. I want people to stop being killed.”