Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Has Failed, Says Czech President

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.

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.

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.

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 “did not 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.

Ukraine Losing 800 Troops A Day

Around 800 Ukrainian troops are being killed and wounded daily amid the conflict with Russia, retired German Air Force Colonel and prominent military analyst Ralph D. Thiele has claimed.

In an opinion piece for Focus magazine on Wednesday, Thiele, who used to serve in the personal staff of NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, claimed that Kiev needs to recruit more than 20,000 soldiers every month in order to replace its dead and injured. He did not reveal his sources or basis for his calculations, however.

Ukraine also requires additional personnel to be able to rotate its troops on the frontline, so that “exhausted soldiers” may recover and units may replenish their material supplies, he wrote.

According to Thiele, who now heads the Political-Military Society, EuroDefense (Germany) and StratByrd Consulting think tanks, “the highly motivated defense” and subsequent counteroffensive, which he described as “a thing of the past,” came at a “high price” for Ukraine.

Kiev’s manpower and hardware are “significantly worn out,” he said. “Western weapons systems are not miracle weapons and are wearing out,” the analyst added.

The worsening battlefield situation and decreasing Western support for Kiev are “eating away at the morale” of the Ukrainian troops, who “will have to save ammunition in a war of attrition and endure slaughter at the front without rest and without a greater sense of achievement,” Thiele stressed.

Russia has also lost “a large number of soldiers and huge amounts of material” during the conflict, but “it has much more of both than Ukraine,” he argued.

“Step by step, Russia’s superiority in the conflict with Ukraine is becoming more visible,” the analyst acknowledged. Moscow’s “strategy of attrition” is “taking effect” in terms of personnel, material, ammunition and morale, he said.

Thiele’s number of 800 Ukrainian soldiers being lost per day appears to be higher than the one announced by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu at the expanded meeting of the Defense Ministry’s Board on Tuesday. According to Shoigu, some 400,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed or wounded since the start of the fighting in late February 2022. This means that, according to Russian figures, Kiev’s daily losses stand at around 600 servicemen.

The Russia’s Defense Ministry estimated that the Ukrainian loss is nearly half of its military personnel over the course of the counteroffensive.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who chaired the meeting, stressed that “we can say with confidence that our troops have the initiative” on the frontline with Ukraine. “In essence, we are doing what we consider necessary, what we want. Wherever commanders decide active defense is best, it takes place. And where it is needed, we improve our positions,” Putin explained.

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 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.

Ukraine Running Out Of Crews For German-made Battle Tanks

The Ukrainian Armed Forces are reportedly experiencing a shortage of personnel to train in the operation of German-made Leopard 2 tanks, according to a report by Die Welt’s correspondent in Kiev, Paul Ronzheimer.

It follows an announcement on Tuesday by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky that the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine had requested to mobilize an additional 450,000 to 500,000 people. Some lawmakers have even proposed drafting women if deemed necessary.

Kiev’s forces have been suffering heavy casualties.

In his report, Ronzheimer noted that Kiev’s plans to mobilize half a million people had caused “shock” among Ukrainians and demonstrated how “difficult the situation is for Ukraine.”

The journalist noted that Ukraine’s shortage of troops and difficulties in mobilizing additional forces are problems that have existed for a long time. As one example of these long-standing issues, Ronzheimer pointed out that training centers in Germany for teaching Ukrainian soldiers to operate Leopard 2 tanks are currently operating at half capacity.

“This means that at the moment there are not enough people for training, and if this war lasts longer, it will naturally cause problems. Because in the end everything depends on how many soldiers each side has at its disposal,” Ronzheimer said.

Ukraine has carried out multiple waves of mobilization since 2014, and officially declared martial law following the launch of Russia’s military operation in the country last year. However, Kiev’s mobilization efforts have been hampered by widespread corruption, which prompted Zelensky to fire the heads of all regional draft offices in August.

It is estimated that tens of thousands of draft-dodgers have either left the country or have gone into hiding from military recruiters.

In a Facebook poll posted by Ukrainian MP Mariana Bezuglaya on Monday, an overwhelming majority of Ukrainians also stated that they would be willing to renounce their citizenship in order to avoid being drafted into the military. Out of some 4,300 men who took part in the poll, 73% said keeping a Ukrainian passport was not worth the risk. Of the 3,800 women who responded to a similar question, 65% said they would not risk their lives for their citizenship.

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