The counteroffensive by Ukraine against Russia has failed, according to former adviser Aleksey Arestovich. In a message on Telegram, Arestovich criticized Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky for allowing corruption and incompetence to thrive, and argued that a change in leadership is necessary. Arestovich also suggested that new elections are the only way to resolve the current impasse.
Arestovich pointed out that Zelensky’s focus on defending the city of Artyomovsk earlier this year depleted resources and manpower that could have been used in the summer counteroffensive against Russian forces. As a result, Ukraine was unable to make significant territorial gains and Russian troops have now shifted to offensive operations across the entire front.
One of Arestovich’s main criticisms is that Ukraine has failed to build defensive fortifications like those set up by Russia before the Ukrainian offensive. He believes that such structures would have increased the combat stability of Ukrainian troops and inflicted greater losses on the Russians. Arestovich described this as a strategic mistake on Ukraine’s part.
Apart from the military situation, Arestovich also highlighted Russia’s increasing defense spending and production of armaments, as well as its outreach to its allies in the Global South. In contrast, he argued that Ukraine is suppressing business, civil liberties, and political competitors, and is experiencing strained relations with its neighbors and key partners.
According to Arestovich, Ukraine’s leadership has exhausted its competence and needs to change its approach. He called on the government to reconsider its decision not to hold elections until after the conflict and to accept that the goal of retaking Crimea and restoring Ukraine’s 1991 borders is not achievable. Arestovich emphasized that the Ukrainian people have made significant sacrifices in pursuit of this goal, but it is time to acknowledge the reality of the situation.
Arestovich’s criticism comes after a series of increasingly pessimistic predictions about Ukraine’s future. In August, he predicted that an invasion of Crimea would result in the loss of 200,000 Ukrainian lives. In September, he forecasted that the conflict could continue until 2035.
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