A former adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says the summer counteroffensive has failed. He went on to say Kiev will never achieve its war aims of recapturing the Crimean Peninsula and restoring Ukraine’s 1991 borders.
In an X post on Saturday, Oleksiy Arestovych, a former adviser to the Office of the President of Ukraine, said Kiev made “made a number of mistakes” during the summer counteroffensive. He continued, explaining that Ukraine has gained no territory since the end of February. Arestovych described the situation on the battlefield as a “disaster.” He noted that Ukraine wasted “so many lives and resources” and lost a “strategic position in the world.”
Arestovych argued, as Western officials have, that Ukraine suffered a major defeat in Bakhmut, resulting in significant shortages in troops and equipment needed for the offensive. He went on to write that this mistake was followed by another error.
The former aide believes Zelensky has now compounded the blunder in Bakhmut by failing to establish more defensive lines. Throughout the summer, Ukrainian troops were sent into entrenched Russian defensive positions in southern Ukraine. Kiev suffered heavy losses, and morale among Ukrainians has dipped.
In the post, he placed the blame on Zelensky. “The decision to redirect military efforts and build strategic-scale defense lines and areas could not be made by the military leadership (this is above its level of responsibility) but only political,” he wrote.
Arestovych went on to blast Zelensky for making a series of mistakes, and he said Kiev would be unable to reach its war goals. “Behind the strategic mistakes in the field loom strategic mistakes in public administration, foreign and domestic policy – corruption, the real prospect of reducing aid to Ukraine, tightening the screws within the country, the destruction of relations with its closest neighbors – these are all direct results of non-military decisions made, or the right political decisions not made.” He continued, “[The Zelensky administration doesn’t] even want to tell the people the truth – there will be no borders in 1991, and there will be no Crimea in the near future, but there will be defense, blood, sweat, tears.”
He assesses that the war has now entered a stalemate phase. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow’s forces are gaining territory. “Our troops are improving their position in almost all of this area, which is quite vast,” he said on Sunday. “This concerns the areas of Kupiansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Avdiivka.”
Aresrovych made the post as he is under investigation for making comments that promote violence against women. He denied the allegations.