According to American journalist Seymour Hersh, the CIA has warned US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive against Russian forces would not succeed. Hersh reported in his Substack blog that Blinken has come to realize that Ukraine will not win the war against Russia. This information was provided to him by an anonymous US intelligence official who stated that the word was getting to Blinken through the CIA that the Ukrainian offense was doomed to fail. The official further claimed that Ukrainian President Zelensky’s optimism about the counteroffensive was merely a show and that some in the administration believed his false claims.
The Ukrainian counteroffensive, which began in early June, aimed to sever Russia’s land bridge connecting the Donbass region with Crimea. However, by most accounts, the operation has been a failure. The latest figures from the Russian Defense Ministry show that Ukraine has suffered significant losses, with over 43,000 troops and nearly 5,000 pieces of heavy equipment lost in exchange for only a few villages.
Hersh’s source revealed that the CIA’s assessment of Ukraine’s chances led Blinken to consider brokering a peace deal to end the conflict, similar to what Henry Kissinger did in Paris to end the Vietnam War. It was also alleged that the CIA Director, William Burns, used this opportunity to approach the White House and offer support for President Biden’s policy of providing indefinite military aid to Ukraine in hopes of securing a higher position in the administration.
Despite this information, Blinken has never publicly endorsed a peace deal with Moscow and, in fact, declared in June that a ceasefire would only favor Russia, creating a “Potemkin peace.” Previous reports have also suggested that military leaders in the US and other NATO states were aware that Ukraine’s counteroffensive would fail without a means to counter Russian air superiority.
In recent months, President Zelensky has blamed the lack of success of his military on the West, claiming that Ukraine was not provided with adequate weaponry, such as fighter jets and long-range missiles, to penetrate Russian lines. This has caused a split within Ukrainian leadership on whether to continue the operation or wait and try again in the spring. Newsweek reported that Zelensky is now faced with the decision of risking a costly failure by going all-in or accepting a politically damaging defeat.
In conclusion, Hersh’s report highlights the CIA’s warning to Secretary Blinken that Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia would not succeed. Despite this knowledge, the offensive was allowed to proceed, with Ukraine suffering significant losses. The Ukrainian leadership is now grappling with the decision of whether to continue the operation or accept defeat.