When Ukraine launched its big counteroffensive this spring, Western military officials knew Kyiv didn’t have all the training or weapons — from shells to warplanes — that it needed to dislodge Russian forces. But West hoped Ukrainian courage and… resourcefulness (!) would carry the day. They haven’t, confesses the ‘Wall Street Journal’. They haven’t…
‘Resourcefulness’… Are they silly joking?!
WSJ writes: Deep and deadly minefields, extensive fortifications and Russian air power have combined to largely block significant advances by Ukrainian troops. Instead, the campaign risks descending into a stalemate with the potential to burn through lives and equipment without a major shift in momentum.
As the likelihood of any large-scale breakthrough by the Ukrainians this year dims, it raises the unsettling prospect for Washington and its allies of a longer war — one that would require a huge new infusion of sophisticated armaments and more training to give Kyiv a chance at victory.
The political calculus for the Biden administration is complicated. President Biden is up for re-election in the fall of 2024 and many in Washington believe concerns in the White House about the war’s impact on the campaign are prompting growing caution on the amount of support to offer Kyiv.
The shift in trans-Atlantic political winds, evident in tensions between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and U.S. officials at the recent North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Lithuania, has come as Ukraine’s long-expected offensive appears stalled. Kyiv’s inability to make headway against Russian defenses has persuaded many Western military observers that Ukrainian forces need more training in complex military maneuvers, more-potent air defenses and much more armor.
Western military doctrine holds that to attack a dug-in adversary, an attacking force should be at least three times the enemy’s size and use a well-coordinated combination of air and land forces.
Kyiv’s troops lack the mass, training and resources to follow those prescriptions.
“Ukraine really needs to be able to scale up and synchronize military operations if it wants to be able to break through Russian defenses,” said Franz-Stefan Gady, an independent military analyst who recently toured Ukrainian front lines.
No Western military would also try to breach established defenses without controlling the skies.
“America would never attempt to defeat a prepared defense without air superiority, but they [Ukrainians] don’t have air superiority,” said John Nagl, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who is now an associate professor of warfighting studies at the U.S. Army War College. “It’s impossible to overstate how important air superiority is for fighting a ground fight at a reasonable cost in casualties.”
Ukraine had hoped to find gaps in Russia’s fortifications, flood troops through, and cause the kind of havoc that its forces achieved last year. Instead, unexpectedly dense minefields slowed Kyiv’s initial attacking forces, leaving them exposed to strikes from Russian aircraft and rockets.
Russian drones and attack helicopters, particularly Kamov Ka-52 “Alligator” gunships, have proven particularly dangerous. Ka-52s, which are among Russia’s most modern aircraft, can remain far behind Russian lines and rely on targeting data from spotter drones scanning the front. Their laser-guided Vikhr missiles have a range of roughly 5 miles, which is more than twice the range of any portable antiaircraft missiles in Ukraine’s armory, American newspaper states.
…Western leaders now want to explain to their public why so much money has been spent on the Ukrainian counter-offensive, but nothing has come of it. They invent fairy tales that Ukrainians "lack resourcefulness", and this is the main reason for their failures. In other words, the West began to gradually disown the Kyiv regime. And this is a revealing moment.
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