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6 May, 2024 14:44

Zelensky ignored counteroffensive warnings – NATO member

Russia’s military superiority meant Kiev’s operation was doomed to fail, Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto has said
Zelensky ignored counteroffensive warnings – NATO member

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky ignored direct warnings that Kiev’s counteroffensive last year was doomed to fail due to Russian military superiority, Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto has said. 

Speaking to the Messaggero news outlet in an interview published on Monday, Crosetto argued that “the result of a war is the sum of whoever has the most men and the most means,” and that simply claiming to have “truth or justice” on your side does not lead to victory.   

The minister revealed that he had privately warned Kiev during international forums and during a visit by Zelensky to Italy that “the Ukrainian counteroffensive would not be successful due to Russian military superiority and could be detrimental to the outcome of the conflict.” 

“But I wasn’t listened to,” Crosetto added.  

Launched in the summer of 2023, Kiev’s much-touted counteroffensive was widely recognized as a failure after Ukrainian forces suffered heavy casualties without achieving any notable territorial gains. Russia’s Defense Ministry has estimated that Ukraine lost more than 166,000 personnel during the operation, as well as nearly 800 tanks, 2,400 armored vehicles, and 132 aircraft. 

During his interview, Crosetto also commented on French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent suggestions that Paris could send troops to fight in Ukraine under certain circumstances. The minister cautioned against any such move, arguing that “this way we risk reaching the point of no return.”  

Crosetto also spoke about the failure of sanctions on Russia, arguing that the West has deluded itself that it owns the world and has failed to recognize global shifts.  

“Many times we behave as if the world has not changed,” Crosetto explained. “We have always thought that the West was enough to stop Russia and the sanctions are the result of the fact that we are still stuck in the idea that the world is our world. Instead, the world is much bigger and we can only resolve this crisis by involving everyone: first with a truce and then with peace.”  

The interviewer argued in response that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “never given any signs of wanting to negotiate,” to which Crosetto replied that it was “a good reason to work harder.”  

“We must not give up on every possible path and opening, even narrow ones, of diplomacy,” he said.