Ukraine’s western partners are realizing that their initial expectations of Ukraine’s counteroffensive may have been overly optimistic. Several senior US and Western officials have expressed concerns about the ability of Ukrainian forces to retake significant territory, according to Ukrainska Pravda.
The biggest hurdle seems to be Russia’s deep defense lines in eastern and southern Ukraine, which are extensively equipped with mines and trenches. Ukrainska Pravda reports that despite these fortifications, Ukrainian forces are unable to make any significant advances. According to Mike Quigley, a US lawmaker who recently returned from Europe, this is the most difficult time of the war.
Ukrainska Pravda also points out that the Ukrainian armed forces have suffered significant casualties, prompting the Ukrainian command to make strategic reassessments. A senior Western diplomat expressed doubts about the likelihood of further progress in the coming weeks.
Confidence in the offensive is waning
Still, the US hopes for further progress, although aware of the difficulties. Western officials stress that the slow progress also underscores the challenge of shaping the Ukrainian army into an efficient, combined mechanized force.
Another concern Ukrainska Pravda highlights is the growing gap between expectations and outcomes. This discrepancy could create tensions between Ukrainian officials and their Western backers. Initial confidence in the counteroffensive is fading, and some officials are pushing for peace talks.
Finally, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said at the Aspen Security Forum in July that the slow advance of Ukrainian forces was due to the delayed flow of arms from the West. Zelenskyy stressed the need for more ammunition, weapons and better trained brigades.