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21 Dec, 2023 11:04

Ukraine’s counteroffensive has failed – ex-NATO general

Kiev did not receive enough equipment from the West, Czech President Petr Pavel has claimed
Ukraine’s counteroffensive has failed – ex-NATO general

Kiev’s much-touted summer counteroffensive operation has failed to produce “expected” results, and instead resulted in heavy casualties for the Ukrainian side, Czech President Petr Pavel admitted in an interview with French newspaper Le Monde on Wednesday.

Launched back in June, the Ukrainian counteroffensive was hyped up as a turning point for Kiev’s forces which would push Russian troops out of former Ukrainian territories. However, six months after the start of the operation, the Ukrainian side has yet to achieve any significant territorial gains and has instead suffered extremely heavy casualties. 

Pavel, who previously served as the chief of the general staff of the Czech Army and chairman of the NATO Military Committee, suggested that the main reason for Ukraine’s failure was that the West did not provide it with enough modern weaponry.

“Supporting countries were reluctant to deliver modern equipment, some elements arrived later, and when Ukraine launched its counteroffensive, the ratio of forces did not allow for rapid success,” he told Le Monde.

Before Kiev had even launched its summer offensive in June, Pavel says he had also warned that it would be a difficult operation because he “didn’t want to create excessive expectations.”

“Painting a picture of quick success is dangerous, especially with an enemy like Russia, whose capabilities and resources should never be underestimated,” he said.

The Czech president went on to suggest that Kiev should now try to change its tactics and switch to consolidating its defense lines instead of launching offensive operations that are only resulting in heavy casualties but no territorial gains.

“They could thus save their forces in anticipation of a resumption of these operations in the spring,” Pavel said.

On Tuesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry estimated that the Ukrainian military had suffered nearly 400,000 casualties since February 2022, losing nearly half of its military personnel over the course of the counteroffensive. Ralph D. Thiele, a retired German Air Force colonel and NATO staffer, also claimed on Thursday that some 800 Ukrainian troops were being killed or wounded every day.

Last week, German news outlets Die Welt and Bild also reported that Ukraine may be gathering forces and drawing up new war plans for a fresh counteroffensive in 2024, while changing its tactics in the meantime to inflict maximum losses on Moscow.

Russia, meanwhile, has repeatedly pointed out the Kiev was essentially sending its soldiers on suicide missions, with Russian President Vladimir Putin saying the Ukrainian leadership had grown desperate after failing to achieve anything in its counteroffensive.