For months on end, the world was primed for the amazing Ukrainian counteroffensive. A momentous affair, fueled by countless billions of western taxpayer dollars, and all kinds of wunderwaffe (wonder weapons): missiles, drones, artillery and air defense systems, tanks and APCs – the works.
Sure, the start of the offensive kept being pushed back in time, as President Zelensky flew around the world getting more and more support for the decisive blow Kiev he was about to strike on the Russian Federation forces.
Ukraine’s objectives, as the military operations till loomed in the horizon, kept getting more and more xxxxxx
One year ago, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba laid the party line on this subject:
“The key moment for Ukraine is to restore our territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders of 1991. There can be no agreement that would be based on Ukraine’s territorial concessions.”
So, 1991 borders means that Kiev would have to retake all the newly conquered areas in the half moon-shaped frontline: in Kharkov, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhie, Kherson – around a quarter of its territory.
It would also mean retaking the Crimean Peninsula. Grandiose plans, indeed.
When the Ukrainian counteroffensive effectively started, the world was shocked to see that they were not able to even breach the ‘screening line’ and reach the first of the many-layered fortified Russian lines of defense.
As the days turned into weeks, and the gargantuan human losses and piles of destroyed tanks and equipment were there for the world to see, Ukraine and its western allies started to move the goal posts in their definition of success.
Then it was, as pointed out in The Guardian:
“The most obvious point for a Ukrainian attack is to strike from the Zaporozhie sector south and south-west towards Melitopol, or possibly south-east towards Berdiansk. The ultimate goal is to cut the road supply links that run close to the coast, but maps of Russian fortifications, based on satellite imagery, show a relatively dense double line of trenches and positions surrounding the key city of Tokmak.”
So, now the next goal was: ‘cut the land bridge to Crimea’. While this was incredibly more modest, still proved to be unattainable, as the formidable defense put up by the Russians pinned Kiev’s forces in a positional battle.
“Meanwhile, months passed, and the Ukrainian Armed Forces were not even able to approach the main line of defense of the Russian Armed Forces, trying to pass off the occupation of several abandoned villages, such as Lobkovoe and Pyatikhatki, as a victory.
In August, the last reserves of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, trained according to NATO standards, were thrown into battle: the 82nd and 46th brigades, and the ultimate goal of the ‘counter-offensive’ was declared to be the capture of Tokmak, which was previously regarded only as the first step in the movement towards Melitopol. But this didn’t work out either.
Military ‘expert’ Alexey Getman stated that the tasks of the ‘counter-offensive’ will be completed if the Ukrainian army can reach the Volnovakha-Tokmak-Dzhankoy railway.
For several weeks, the Ukrainian Armed Forces disputed control over the village of Rabotino, but were unable to get closer to Tokmak. Now the goal of the Ukrainian offensive in 2023 is not even declared to be the capture of this town, located a modest twenty kilometers from the front line, but simply access to the railway anywhere.”
Ukrainian Telegram channel, Rezident:
“Our source in the OP said that [Ukrainian forces Commander] Zaluzhny at the headquarters stated the fact that the Armed Forces of Ukraine this year will not be able to take Tokmak. The commander-in-chief believes that the main task for the Ukrainian troops is to expand the bridgehead around Rabotino, before the onset of mudslides, in order to hold their positions in winter.”
Satellite images show that ‘to reach Tokmak, Ukrainian forces will have to breach two more Russian defensive lines made up of trenches, dense minefields, earthen berms and anti-tank barriers’.
So, now, while western media is starting to acknowledge the real state of affairs, Ukrainian media are trying their best to move the goal posts yet again, and present the results of the failed summer campaign as victorious, and instill hope in the country’s population of victory.
“We can expect the bar for success to continue to decline. By the end of the year, Ukrainian military speakers may announce that the goal of the 2023 “counter-offensive” was to capture the village of Rabotino, located one kilometer from the front line, and this task was successfully completed!”
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