US Pentagon has “No Illusions” on Ukrainian Counteroffensive. Zelensky fears Peace Pressure from West
In the cover image Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder
by Gospa News Editorial Staff
The Pentagon realizes that Ukraine’s counteroffensive will not be an easy task given the strong defensive positions established by Russian forces, US Defense Department Press Secretary Pat Ryder said on Thursday, as reported by Russia Today.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is reportedly worried that Western nations may ramp up pressure to negotiate a peace agreement with Russia, ending a bloody conflict that has killed tens of thousands of Kiev’s troops in just the past two months.
Department of Defense Press Secretary Pat Ryder admits that Kiev is in for a hard fight
Instead, speaking to reporters, US Defense Department Press Secretary Pat Ryder, was asked to respond to criticism that the US has been too slow in supplying Kiev’s forces with tanks, long range missiles and other weapon systems, which in turn has held up Ukraine’s counteroffensive.
The press secretary stressed that the US and its allies have been “very aggressive in providing Ukraine with a variety of capabilities” but admitted that the Pentagon holds “no illusions that this – this fight that Ukraine finds itself in – is an easy fight.”
Ryder suggested that the real issue was that Russia has had time to build up strong defenses in the territories it controls.
“Ukraine is taking the fight to them and it’s going to be a tough fight,” the official said.
He noted that the US has been “training the Ukrainians since 2014” and that Washington is “confident” that Kiev’s forces have “significant combat capability available to them and that they’re going to employ that at a time and place of their choosing.”
Ukraine’s forces launched a series of major attacks on Russian positions in early June, in what is believed to have been the start of Kiev’s much-touted counteroffensive. However, met with formidable Russian defenses and vast minefields, Ukraine has so far suffered heavy casualties, while failing to achieve any significant territorial gains.
On Friday, Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that since launching the counteroffensive, Kiev has lost over 43,000 troops, more than 4,900 pieces of heavy weaponry, including German-made Leopard tanks and US-made Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, and some 747 artillery guns.
The slow pace of the operation and Kiev’s heavy losses have reportedly become a point of frustration for Ukraine’s backers in the US and NATO, with several Western media outlets reporting that further military support to the country could be contingent on the counteroffensive’s success.
Meanwhile, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Aleksey Danilov, admitted on Wednesday that Kiev does not have an exact timetable for progress in its counteroffensive, and insisted that “no one but us can impose deadlines.”
The Ukrainian president has reportedly told his diplomats that benefactors may push for a negotiated truce with Russia
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is reportedly worried that Western nations may ramp up pressure to negotiate a peace agreement with Russia, ending a bloody conflict that has killed tens of thousands of Kiev’s troops in just the past two months.
“As furious battles raged across the front lines of Europe’s bloodiest war in decades, Mr. Zelensky told his ambassadors on Wednesday that things would grow even more difficult as pressure was likely to build in the coming months to find a negotiated path to peace,” the New York Times reported on Saturday.
The Ukrainian president described Wednesday’s gathering in Kiev with diplomats as an “emergency strategy session” heading into this weekend’s Ukraine peace summit in Saudi Arabia, the newspaper said. “The meeting is the starting point of what is expected to be a major Ukrainian diplomatic push in the coming months to try to undercut Russia.”
Zelensky told his ambassadors that they must use every available tool – “official and unofficial, institutional and media, cultural diplomacy and the power of ordinary human sincerity” – to convince both allies and neutral nations that “the only road to a lasting peace is complete Russian defeat,”according to the report.
However, many of the nations attending the summit in Saudi Arabia have resisted US pressure to take sides in the crisis, seeing the conflict as a “contest between superpowers” in which they want no part.
“This is not only a conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” said Celso Amorim, an adviser to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Speaking remotely on Saturday at the Saudi-hosted summit, he added: “This is also a chapter in the longstanding rivalry between Russia and the West.”