Unrealistic US expectations helped doom Ukraine's counteroffensive to fail, military leaders say

  • Ukraine and the US are analyzing the failure of the counteroffensive, The New York Times said.

  • The US underestimated Russia's defenses and had unrealistic expectations, the report said.

  • Ukrainian forces practiced storming far weaker positions than those they encountered, it added.

Unrealistic US expectations about Ukraine's counteroffensive were partly to blame for its failure, unnamed military leaders in Ukraine told The New York Times.

"There are a lot of reasons why the counteroffensive failed, but the Ukrainian critique has some truth to it," Eric Ciaramella, a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told the publication.

"There was kind of a collective expectation inflation."

According to the report, the US underestimated the depth and strength of Russia's defenses in planning the summer's ultimately unsuccessful Ukrainian counteroffensive.

The US military reportedly wanted Ukraine to focus its attacks in the south, but Ukraine said US expectations of breaking through strong Russian defenses were overinflated given the lack of air cover for Ukrainian forces, according to the report.

Instead, Ukraine attacked Russian positions in both east and south Ukraine.

The report said that Ukrainian and US military officials are reformulating their strategy after the counteroffensive launched in June to drive Russian forces back from territory they occupy in south and east Ukraine failed to achieve a decisive breakthrough.

The conflict has again degenerated into a stalemate, with Ukraine only making incremental gains near Kherson, south Ukraine, in its bid to punch through miles of heavily fortified Russian positions.

Before the launch of the counteroffensive, US forces spent months training Ukrainian units in sophisticated tactics designed to break through Russian defenses.

The Times reported that Ukrainian forces training in Germany practiced storming far weaker positions than those they eventually encountered.

Russia defended its positions with miles of minefields, meaning Ukrainian forces were unable to make significant advances, while drones enabled Russia to disrupt communications and identify and pick off Ukrainian mine-clearing units with attack helicopters, the report said.

Ukraine has in recent weeks suffered significant casualties as its forces tried to break through near the village of Robotyne near Kherson, but Russian defenses have remained intact.

Its key success has been in launching audacious long-range attacks on Russian forces in occupied Crimea, which forced Russia to withdraw its Black Sea fleet.

Russia has in turn suffered huge losses in attacks near Avdiivka in east Ukraine.

There are concerns among Ukraine's allies that support for Ukraine could begin to weaken in the West as the war drags on, and a prolonged conflict would favor Russia.

Read the original article on Business Insider