The daily Telegraph published an article outlining the failure of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, noting that despite Kyiv’s claims about the lack of air support, this isn’t the real cause of the problems.
The Article said, “With no major breakthrough after six weeks, it’s worth asking whether Ukraine’s counterattack could ever succeed, because it certainly doesn’t appear to be working now”.
The article continued: “Compare today’s slow but costly advance with lightning victories in Kharkov and Kherson last fall”.
At this time, Kiev’s forces were advancing against the enemy who was withdrawing to redeploy forces, exchanging space for time.
After that the Russians have now strengthened their forces by mobilizing and digging extensive defense lines, this time they are not going anywhere.
This matter left Ukraine with one option, which is launching frontal attacks against well-fortified defensive positions, similar to the Western Front in World War I, where trench lines extended continuously from Switzerland to the sea, and neither side achieved a decisive breakthrough for four years.
However, such a result today would make Kiev vulnerable to shifts in Western opinion, given the possibility of a Trump presidency or European fatigue, adding that Zelensky should be aware of this, and may cause great panic.
The article stressed that the question that must be asked is:
Are the Ukrainians ready, militarily, politically and financially, to continue for months, perhaps years, in these attacks and try to break through 1914-1918-style defensive belts of tank traps, barbed wire, minefields, bunkers and trench lines?
According to the article, the British Department of Defense described the Russian fortifications as some of the most comprehensive systems of military defensive works, seen anywhere in the world.
The terrain in the south, which appears to be Kiev’s main effort at the moment, is mostly open farmland, with few covered roads, which makes surprise, a crucial factor for success in war, nearly impossible, and this lack of it exacerbates Kiev’s combative inferiority.
The article touched on the losses of the Kiev forces in this attack, as it stated, “Ukraine is already losing a large number in all its military capabilities”.
An acute shortage of armored vehicles means that Kiev is approaching this counterattack with great caution.
Many of the NATO-supplied tanks and infantry fighting vehicles were destroyed during the initial reconnaissance attacks, so they are holding on to most of these assets to avoid further casualties.
This is understandable – but a bold, coordinated attack with heavy armor, is more likely to be overcome by the Russians.
The Article continued: What is the main problem?
Some in Kiev point to a lack of air support, highlighting the reluctance of Western partners to provide the F16s, although Britain has already pledged to train the Ukrainian pilots, but this won’t solve Kiev’s immediate dilemmas.
It will take months to train the pilots, then months to move the planes.
Moreover, as US army Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley has already pointed out, that the Russians have 1,000 fourth-generation fighters, and if “you” are gonna compete with Russia in the air, you will need a large number of fourth and fifth generation fighter jets”.
Milley continues, “We’ve to realize two things… This isn’t possible in the current context, and air power isn’t a magic bullet anyway”.
Finally, the daily telegraph concluded the article by saying that the possibility of Ukrainian recovery is due to its ability to complete frontal attacks, while this strategy has been denounced at least since World War I by military theorists who extol the virtues of the indirect approach, which advances along lines of least resistance to disrupt the enemy’s balance before attacking weak front-line defenses, but given Kiev’s position, it doesn’t have the privilege of philosophizing.
In the meantime, the West should focus on providing the right practical equipment, such as mine-clearing equipment to clear paths of enemy obstacles, cluster munitions and long-range ATACM missiles.
It will take a focus on a dirty ground war, not lofty dreams, to shift the balance.