Much hyped Ukrainian counteroffensive by the West against Russian liberation forces in the Donbass sputters grim statistics reveals
Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive against Russian forces is “not meeting expectations on any front,” Western and US officials told CNN on Thursday. Ukrainian troops and armor are proving “vulnerable” to Russian minefields, missiles, and air power, they added.
“Russian lines of defense have been proving well-fortified, making it difficult for Ukrainian forces to breach them,” CNN reported, paraphrasing the anonymous officials. “In addition, Russian forces have had success bogging down Ukrainian armor with missile attacks and mines and have been deploying air power more effectively.”
According to one official, the Russian defense has proven more “competent” than expected. However, the source insisted that the US is still “optimistic” that Ukraine will turn the failing operation around, and that Washington will re-evaluate the offensive next month.
In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested Ukraine’s armed forces are significantly constrained by limits on manpower after receiving an intelligence estimate that Kiev has lost over 13,000 troops since launching its counteroffensive earlier this month.
“Additional military hardware can certainly be delivered, but the mobilization reserve is not unlimited. And it seems Ukraine’s Western allies are indeed prepared to wage the war to the last Ukrainian,” Putin said during a meeting of the Russian Security Council on Thursday.
Putin was referring to the point that the US and its allies are unconcerned about the level of Ukrainian casualties, as long as they can use Kiev as a proxy to inflict damage on Russia.
Ukrainian soldiers repair a German-made Leopard 2 tank. © AP Photo/Andriy Andriyenko
During the meeting, senior officials tabled Russia’s assessment of the interim results of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, which was launched earlier in June.
According to Nikolay Patrushev, the secretary of the council, Kiev has lost over 13,000 troops and a significant number of weapons in the campaign. The preliminary estimate is largely based on intercepted communications from Ukrainian military commanders, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu clarified.
Meanwhile, the Russian military is steadily building up its reserves, Shoigu added, stating that the process was going well in terms of recruitment and the procurement of weapons systems.
The ministry has contracted 114,000 additional troops through regular channels and has a standing force of 52,000 volunteers who are highly motivated to join the fight against Ukraine, Shoigu reported. The department is keeping the latter group in reserve and is providing them with the necessary training, he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via video link. © Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov
A field army in Russia includes several army corps and accounts for more than 40,000 servicemen on average. A Russian army corps has an established strength of between 20,000 and 40,000 servicemen and includes several brigades and regiments depending on its composition.
Kiev is facing manpower issues, Ukraine’s Chernigov Region reported on Wednesday that it was struggling to meet its mobilization quota. More than 20,000 people have not reported following their summons, regional draft commissar Oleg Goncharuk has admitted.
The expanded mobilization measures come as the long-heralded “counteroffensive” on the Zaporozhye front fails to dislodge Russian forces after more than two weeks of fighting.
The attacks have reportedly cost the Ukrainian military dearly. With their dwindling number of air defense systems weakened by Russian drones and missiles, Kiev’s forces have been unable to counter Russian jets and helicopters. Relying on armored thrusts through minefields, Ukraine lost over 13,000 troops and more than 800 tanks and armored vehicles between June 4 and 21, Russian Security Council chief Nikolay Patrushev stated on Thursday.
However, one of the officials cited by CNN claimed that “Ukrainian casualties are heavy, though not as bad as the Russians are trying to portray.”
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky told the BBC on Wednesday that progress on the battlefield has been “slower than desired,” but vowed that his troops will eventually drive Russian forces out of the four formerly Ukrainian regions – Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye – that voted last year to join Russia. He also insists on reclaiming Crimea, which joined Russia after a referendum in 2014.
Zelensky is reportedly under pressure to score battlefield successes for his Western patrons, and CNN wrote that the counteroffensive “is seen as crucial to determining who ultimately wins the war.”