Ukrainian forces have still made no breakthroughs against Russian forces in the counteroffensive despite sending thousands of more troops to the front for a renewed push in the southeast, POLITICO reported Tuesday, citing unnamed Pentagon officials.
US officials said last week that the “main thrust” of the Ukrainian counteroffensive had begun and that Ukraine committed NATO-trained forces it was holding in reserve. The push was focused on Zaporizhzhia, and the idea was to sever the land bridge Russia has secured to Crimea, and there have been attacks in other areas along the front.
The POLITICO report said that Ukraine committed 150,000 troops to the assault along three axes of attack, but Pentagon officials said the operations have not yielded significant results, with one saying Ukrainian gains are being measured by the hundreds of meters.
“They are making mostly small, incremental gains,” one official said. “They are still facing stiff Russian resistance — second and third layers of defenses.” The report said Ukraine is still keeping some forces in reserves.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Western officials didn’t believe Ukraine had enough weapons or training to dislodge Russian forces but hoped they would be able to break through anyway.
In the lead-up to the counteroffensive, the Discord leaks and other media reports showed that the US did not believe Ukraine could regain significant territory. But the Biden administration still pushed for the assault and rejected the idea of a ceasefire.
Western officials have blamed Ukraine’s lack of success on Ukrainian tactics, complaining that Ukrainian commanders weren’t using their NATO training. Ukrainian officials have hit back at the criticism, pointing out that NATO countries would never launch a major offensive without air superiority.