NYT: Russian Annexation Plans Pressure Zelensky To Retake Territory Soon

Former high-level officials called on Ukraine’s President to bring the war to an end

The New York Times reports Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is facing pressure on multiple fronts to launch a counter-offensive and bring the war to a military end. Russia is planning a series of referendums, and likely annexations, of captured territory in the coming months. A former defense minister is publicly warning Kiev that war fatigue could set in.

Former Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk issued the call for Zelensky to launch the offensive in Ukrainska Pravda. "The very difficult state of our economy, the constant risks of air and missile attacks and the general fatigue of the population from the difficulties of war will work against Ukraine."

He argued for Ukrainian forces to go on the offensive and end the war quickly. Zagorodnyuk said, "it makes no sense to drag out the war for years and compete to see who will run out of resources first." It is unclear if Kiev’s forces are capable of offensive operations as Russian soldiers have continued to slowly advance.

Kiev could wait for more weapons to arrive from NATO counties, but time is becoming a factor. "Russian plans to stage referendums in occupied territory could lead to a claim of annexation as early as next month, putting additional time pressure on Mr. Zelensky to launch an offensive," Andrew E. Kramer wrote in the Times.

Ukraine says it has currently shifted to a strategy of "deep war." Those operations attempt to strike ammunition dumps and other strategic targets deep in Russian territory. In the past two months, Kiev says it destroyed over 150 ammunition depots, 91 bases for weapons storage, four barracks housing soldiers, four fuel depots and eight command posts.

The Times reports a further indication of a coming counter-offensive from Kiev is the White House including mine clearing equipment in a recent weapons package. If Ukrainian forces successfully retake territory, the equipment will be vital in minimizing losses.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of Antiwar.com, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.