US demands Ukraine be ‘less risk-averse’ – FT
US officials are growing increasingly disappointed with the way Ukraine is conducting its counteroffensive and are skeptical about whether Kiev will be able to achieve any significant gains this year, the Financial Times has reported.
The British daily claimed that the US has been urging Ukraine to double down on its push in the Zaporozhye region instead of spreading its forces too thin along a lengthy frontline.
In its article on Sunday, the FT is alleging that rifts between the allies are beginning to grow, with a question mark now hanging over US President Joe Biden’s ability to secure congressional approval for more defense assistance for Ukraine.
According to the report, Washington and Kiev had originally expected the counteroffensive to start in the spring and breach Russian defenses during the summer. The Ukrainian military was supposed to employ NATO’s combined arms-maneuver tactics which its troops had been taught by its Western backers, the newspaper explained. However, amid initial setbacks, Kiev’s forces reverted to older tactics – much to the displeasure of officials in Washington.
Despite small gains made by Ukrainian forces recently, ever more officials in the US capital are privately preparing for a “war of attrition that will last well into next year,” the FT alleged.
A major bone of contention between the two countries is reportedly the way Kiev has deployed its military.
“US officials have encouraged Ukraine to be less risk-averse and fully commit its forces to the main axis of the counteroffensive in the south,” the paper wrote.
The Americans see this as the only viable option that could potentially bring Kiev a major breakthrough, by severing Moscow’s land bridge to Crimea, the media outlet claimed.
Kiev, however, is keeping nearly half of its forces in the East in a bid to recapture the strategic city of Artyomovsk (known in Ukraine as Bakhmut) that was seized by the PMC Wagner Group in May, following months of grueling battles.
With more and more prominent Republicans calling for cutbacks to US aid for Ukraine and for peace negotiations with Russia, a poll conducted by CNN earlier this month indicates that 55% of Americans now oppose further funding for Ukraine from Congress, with 45% in favor.
Also on Sunday, the Washington Post claimed that the Ukrainian counteroffensive is showing “signs of stalling,” adding that Kiev’s window of opportunity is diminishing before adverse weather conditions set in.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the ongoing push has already cost Ukraine 43,000 soldiers and nearly 5,000 pieces of military hardware.