The West threw Ukrainians into Russian meat grinder thinking “courage” would prevail

Patience is starting to run out as US and British elections slowly but surely loom.


Ahmed Adel, Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher

The West knew that Kiev did not have enough weapons for a successful counteroffensive but hoped that the “courage and resourcefulness” of Ukrainian soldiers’ would compensate for this deficit, reported The Wall Street Journal. Obviously, those hopes did not materialise as one cannot win a battle based on “courage and resourcefulness.”

“When Ukraine launched its big counteroffensive this spring, Western military officials knew Kyiv didn’t have all the training or weapons—from shells to warplanes—that it needed to dislodge Russian forces. But they hoped Ukrainian courage and resourcefulness would carry the day. They haven’t,” reported the newspaper.

“Deep and deadly minefields, extensive fortifications and Russian air power have combined to largely block significant advances by Ukrainian troops. Instead, the campaign risks descending into a stalemate with the potential to burn through lives and equipment without a major shift in momentum,” added the Wall Street Journal.

According to the newspaper, the offensive risks a stalemate. Itwill cost Ukraine lives and equipment without significant progress. The publication also notes that there are not enough reserves in Europe to provide Kiev with everything necessary.

Moreover, according to Western diplomats, European leaders are unlikely to opt for a significant increase in aid to Ukraine if they feel a lack of enthusiasm on the part of the US, which in turn is preparing for the presidential election.

The Ukrainian offensive began on June 4 and has experienced catastrophic. But since the beginning of the special military operation in February 2022, Ukraine has lost 457 warplanes, 243 helicopters, 5,236 unmanned aerial vehicles, 426 air defence missile systems, 10,868 tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, 1,139 fighting vehicles equipped with MLRS, 5,585 field artillery cannons and mortars, as well as 11,860 special military motor vehicles. 

This catastrophic loss of military equipment demonstrates the complete failure of the Ukrainian offensive and is why more questions are being raised in Western countries about whysupport is still being provided when it is evidently making no difference in Ukraine’s fortunes. 

In fact, it begs the question as to why the counteroffensive was ever launched to begin with. 

As renowned political scientist Max Abrahms highlighted in a tweet, the White House boasted in May that “Ukraine has everything necessary for a counteroffensive.” This is a far cry from the recent revelation that the West believed that the “courage and resourcefulness” of Ukrainian soldiers’ would compensate for the lack of weapons. 

For British military expert Jack Watling, Ukraine’s much-anticipated counteroffensive against Russia has been impeded by Western delivery delays and bureaucracy. The senior researcher on land warfare at the Royal Institute of United Services argues, “A bureaucratic, peacetime approach to training and stockpiling among Zelenskiy’s allies is posing a threat to European security.”

According to the author, Kiev has clearly communicated to Western capitals about what it needs to succeed on the battlefield, requesting artillery, engineering capacity, protected means of mobility, anti-aircraft defence systems and personnel training.  Watling points out that Kiev did receive enough artillery and protected mobility assets but had a harder time obtaining other items on the list.

Western countries did not approve deliveries of tanks and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine until January 2023, making the situation difficult for Ukrainian forces: “Months of delays gave Russian forces time to build their defences, significantly complicating the task for the Ukrainians,” added Watling.

Effectively, it was a well-known fact, despite the public bravado, that the Ukrainian counteroffensive was going to fail. It questions why Ukrainians are being so easily sent into the Russian meat grinder to die or be maimed. This is difficult to reconcile since Ukrainians are literally being dragged off the street and sent to the front line.

Notably, more prominent voices in the West, such as Douglas MacKinnon, a former adviser for policy and communications at the Pentagon, and British Foreign Secretary Ben Wallace, are beginning to speak out against Zelensky’s entitled and spoiled behaviour. Although this has not deterred weapons transfers to Ukraine, it does suggest that patience could run out, especially as the US elections will take place in November 2024. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is also eyeing November 2024 for the UK’s General Election.

Particularly in the case of the US, the Republicans will likely use all the wasted billions of dollars and failure in Ukraine as a major election discussion point. With more and more revelations emerging that the Ukrainian counteroffensive never stood a chance of success, with foolish beliefs of “courage and resourcefulness” leading to tens of thousands of casualties, criticisms against the ruling governments in the West will only mount. 

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