Kiev Aims to Lower Expectations for Counteroffensive

by | Jun 21, 2023

Kiev Aims to Lower Expectations for Counteroffensive

by | Jun 21, 2023

tass 5719833022

ukrainian defense minister oleksiy reznikov

Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive has been underway for over two weeks, and Kiev has little to show for the loss of life and military equipment expended the in the operations. On Monday, a Ukrainian military official attempted to lower expectations for the mission, as US lawmakers say future support for Kiev depends on whether it can reclaim territory from Russian forces. 

In an interview with the Czech Current Time TV station Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov downplayed how much territory Kiev will retake in the counteroffensive. “The Russians had the opportunity to prepare. There is an incredible density of minefields,” he said. “Our officers, our commanders are maneuvering, look for opportunities, move carefully. I suggest not pushing them, not pushing them, they are doing their job. And they will do it.”

While Reznikov argued Kiev’s attempt to preserve its soldiers’ lives was slowing the operations, the US chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Mark Milley, has predicted massive losses for Ukraine during the counteroffensive. “This is a very difficult fight. It’s a very violent fight, and it will likely take considerable time and at high cost,” he said.

Reznikov went on to tell the Czech outlet – which is owned by the US government-affiliated Radio Free Europe – not to compare the current operations to the counteroffensive last autumn which saw Kiev retake swaths of territory. “The Kharkiv operation went very quickly, successfully, unexpectedly for the enemy, for the world community, and for many Ukrainians as well,” he continued. “Therefore, it is now impossible to expect that everything will happen as quickly as it happened with Kharkiv.”

Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar acknowledged intense fighting along the frontlines, and that Russian forces were on the offensive in some areas. “In the south, battles are currently taking place in the directions where Ukrainian soldiers are advancing, and the enemy is on the defensive,” she said on Telegram. “At the same time, we have directions where, on the contrary, the enemy is advancing, and we are on the defensive. For example, Kupiansk and Lyman.”

Washington has been helping to plan the counteroffensive since the winter, while the US and other NATO countries have continued to pour weapons into Ukraine for the operations. So far, Kiev has failed to retake significant territory. 

In May, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, argued that future support for Kiev should depend on its ability to recapture territory. “I think there’s going to be a lot riding on the line with this counteroffensive,” he said. “If Ukraine is successful in the eyes of the American people and the world, I think it will be a game-changer for continued support. If they are not, that will also have an impact, in a negative way, though.”

Ukraine is entirely dependent on the US and its allies to arm and train its military. Without Western support, Kiev would likely be forced to reach an agreement with Moscow to end the war. However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Washington is committed to arming Ukraine even if the current counteroffensive fails, having repeatedly vowed to continue military aid for ”as long as it takes.”


About Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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