Report: Ukrainian Leadership Divided on Stalling Counteroffensive

According to Newsweek, the military high command wants to keep pushing while other officials want to prepare for a future Russian offensive

Newsweek reported on Wednesday that Ukrainian leadership is divided on what steps to take amid Ukraine’s stalling counteroffensive against Russian forces.

Citing sources familiar with the discussions, the report said that officials within the presidential office want to consolidate Ukraine’s small gains and prepare for a Russian offensive that’s expected in the fall or winter. Officials within the military high command, including Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny, want to keep pressing forward.

“On the military side, you have Zaluzhny and others—but obviously he’s in command—who want to keep pushing. There are some questions on the political side about whether that makes the most sense right now. Or does it make sense to consolidate where possible in some areas, and relieve pressure on supply lines and stockpiles?” a source close to the Ukrainian government told Newsweek.

The source said that some Ukrainian officials felt the military misled them about their chances of success. “There’s a sense that they were misled by the military in terms of how well this counteroffensive would go, that they were provided with overly rosy assessments from the military side,” the source said. “And they’re unhappy about that.”

The report comes as US and other Western officials are being more candid about the situation on the battlefield in Ukraine, with some calling the counteroffensive a failure and others saying it’s very unlikely to succeed. Zaluzhny has hit back at the criticism, saying Ukraine’s Western backers need to be more patient.

Notably, the Newsweek report did not mention if anyone at high levels of the Ukrainian government is thinking about negotiations with Russia to end the war. Publicly, Ukrainian officials have maintained their demands for peace are a full Russian withdrawal and for Russia to give up Crimea, conditions that are a non-starter for talks with Moscow.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.