Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has pointed out that his military’s counteroffensive has been delayed and its results have been lackluster due to insufficient weapons and training from Kiev’s Western allies. In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Zelensky stated that the delay in the counteroffensive allowed Russia to fortify its positions and build multiple lines of defense. He emphasized that Ukraine didn’t have enough munitions, armaments, and properly trained brigades to launch the counteroffensive during the spring as planned.
The lack of support from Western allies has been a significant factor contributing to the Ukrainian military’s challenges. Zelensky explained that holding the training outside Ukraine further complicated the situation and added to the delays. He highlighted the need for sufficient resources and training not only to protect the Ukrainian personnel but also to prevent the loss of equipment.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, Zelensky reiterated that the counteroffensive was postponed due to a shortage of ammunition and training. However, he remained optimistic that victory would be achieved once the Ukrainian military finished removing the mines that Russia had planted during the delay caused by the lack of support from Western countries.
Despite some Pentagon officials emphasizing that it is too early to consider the counteroffensive a “failure,” the US has declined to provide Ukraine with long-range ATACMS or F-16s. The reasons cited include the lack of time and financial resources to train Ukrainian personnel to operate and maintain these aircraft effectively. This decision has raised concerns about the progress of the counteroffensive, as it was expected to deal a decisive blow to Russia.
Even the Western media has recognized the underwhelming performance of Ukraine’s counteroffensive. The New York Times reported that Ukraine’s military had lost 20% of its weapons in just two weeks, a loss that Zelensky attributed to the inadequate support from Western allies. The Financial Times and Washington Post have also expressed concerns about Ukraine’s lack of progress in the counteroffensive, which was initially expected to have a significant impact on the conflict with Russia.
Although NATO has promised to support Ukraine’s military efforts for as long as necessary to defeat Russia, the alliance did not invite Ukraine to join during its recent summit in Vilnius. Zelensky expressed his disappointment and called NATO’s behavior “unprecedented and absurd.” Despite receiving substantial military aid, with the US alone providing $46.6 billion in the last 18 months, Ukraine’s allies are now facing ammunition shortages. Additionally, public opinion in Western countries is increasingly questioning the wisdom of participating in an open-ended proxy war with a nuclear power.
In conclusion, Ukrainian President Zelensky has highlighted the challenges faced by his military’s counteroffensive, attributing the delays and limited success to insufficient weapons and training from Western allies. The lack of support has allowed Russia to strengthen its defenses, making it more difficult for Ukraine to achieve its objectives. The refusal to provide certain advanced weaponry and concerns raised by Western media outlets and publics suggest a growing skepticism about the effectiveness and long-term implications of the Ukrainian conflict.