Ukraine: Are Cracks Forming?

I recently made a comment about the cracks that are forming around the support for Ukraine….and I waited to see if there would be any push back on that single comment.

And I waited.  (Was that crickets?)

Since that has not been forthcoming I will take the lead….

One issue is over Bakhmut, the eastern Ukrainian city where Russian and Ukrainian forces have been locked in battle for over eight months. Biden administration officials think Ukraine has expended too many resources defending Bakhmut and worry it will impact their ability to launch a counteroffensive this spring, but officials in Kyiv have decided to keep fighting for the city.

Another point of contention is over Crimea as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky insists they will retake the peninsula, which has been under Russian control since 2014 and is populated by people who are happy to be part of the Russian Federation.

While some Biden administration officials have vowed support for Ukrainian attacks on Crimea, the POLITICO report said other US officials believe Zelensky’s insistence that there will be no peace talks until the peninsula is taken will only prolong the war. But publicly, President Biden and other US officials maintain that negotiations will only happen under Kyiv’s terms.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has also acknowledged the risk of escalation that would come with a Ukrainian attempt on Crimea, calling it a “red line” for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the Pentagon has said it’s unlikely Kyiv can take the peninsula.

The US also appears to be tired of Zelensky’s constant demands for weapons. Two White House officials told POLITICO that there are “grumblings” in Washington over Zelesnky’s constant requests and lack of gratitude. Despite the massive amount of support provided by the US and its allies, Ukrainian officials have frequently said that it’s “not enough” and are demanding fighter jets and longer-range missiles.

The POLITICO report mentioned the Nord Stream sabotage and how US officials are now linking the attack to Ukraine while insisting the Ukrainian government was not involved. But the vague claims are likely an attempt to shift blame from the US following the bombshell report from investigative journalist Seymour Hersh that alleged President Biden ordered the bombing of the pipelines.

Publicly, Biden still maintains he will support Ukraine “for as long as it takes,” but there are other signs that the US is thinking about winding down its support. CIA Director William Burns visited Kyiv in January and told Zelensky that Congress might not pass any more massive aid packages for the war. Ukrainian officials are concerned that the administration might use Congress as an excuse to scale down assistance.


On a side note….a recent report does not lead me to have confidence in anything happening in Ukraine….

A senior Ukrainian government official told The Washington Post that Kyiv doesn’t have the resources to pull off a big counteroffensive in the coming months as Ukraine is lacking skilled troops, munitions, and other equipment.

“If you have more resources, you more actively attack,” said the official, who spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity. “If you have fewer resources, you defend more. We’re going to defend. That’s why if you ask me personally, I don’t believe in a big counteroffensive for us. I’d like to believe in it, but I’m looking at the resources and asking, ‘With what?’ Maybe we’ll have some localized breakthroughs.”

The official said Ukraine doesn’t have “the people or weapons” to pull off a counteroffensive. “And you know the ratio: When you’re on the offensive, you lose twice or three times as many people. We can’t afford to lose that many people,” the official said.

The Post also spoke with a Ukrainian battalion commander who went by the name of Kupol and detailed the grim situation on the frontlines. Kupol said his battalion previously withdrew from the town of Soledar, which is near the eastern city of Bakhmut, and came under Russian control in January.

Ukrainian Official Says Kyiv Doesn’t Have the Resources for a Counteroffensive

I understand the troop thing….but the resources thing is baffling…..I mean we are pouring resources into Ukraine (or as we are told)….

Is this proxy conflict the death of Ukraine?

Proxy wars are notoriously hard to control, especially when the aspirations of those doing the fighting and those sending the weapons diverge. They also have a bad habit of luring sponsors of proxy wars, as happened to the U.S. in Vietnam and Israel in Lebanon, directly into the conflict. Proxy armies are given weaponry with little accountability, significant amounts of which end up on the black market or in the hands of warlords or terrorists. CBS News reported last year that around 30 percent of the weapons sent to Ukraine make it to the front lines, a report it chose to partially retract under heavy pressure from Kyiv and Washington. The widespread diversion of donated military and medical equipment to the black market in Ukraine was also documented by U.S. journalist Lindsey Snell.

Of course we can not talk about Ukraine without some mention of Crimea…..that part of Ukraine that has been annexed by Russia….what about the future of this region?

Well it seems that Crimea may be up for negotiations….with a caveat.

An advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Financial Timesthat Kyiv would be “ready” to negotiate the status of Crimea with Russia if it launches a successful counteroffensive and captures the territory Russia controls that borders the peninsula.

“If we will succeed in achieving our strategic goals on the battlefield and when we will be on the administrative border with Crimea, we are ready to open [a] diplomatic page to discuss this issue,” said Andriy Sybiha, deputy head of Zelenskyy’s office.

Sybiha’s comments are the first sign that Ukraine might be willing to seek a diplomatic solution with Russia over Crimea. Kyiv cut off peace talks with Moscow in April 2022. Since then, Zelensky and his top aides have called for a complete Russian withdrawal from all the territory it controls, including Crimea, before any negotiations can resume.

The Zelensky posse may not be on the same page….on Crimea.

A Ukrainian official said Thursday that Kyiv’s goal of kicking Russia out of Crimea hasn’t changed after an aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky suggested Ukraine might be open to negotiating the issue.

“Ukraine will choose the way to bring Crimea back, using political and military means,” Tamila Tasheva, Zelensky’s envoy for Crimea, told POLITICO.

Andriy Sybiha, the deputy of Zelensky’s office, said a day earlier that Kyiv would be “ready” to negotiate over Crimea if it launches a successful counteroffensive up to the peninsula’s borders. The comments were the first sign Kyiv might rethink its position that peace talks can only happen when Russia is expelled from the territory.

More to come.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


13 thoughts on “Ukraine: Are Cracks Forming?

  1. The moral of the story above is this – remember that specific public (and leaked) statements are targeted for specific audiences. Messages are aligned with and measured by observables in order to create effects conducive to ones goals. It’s in Ukraine’s interest for Russia to believe that they have neither the manpower, resources or will to launch a counter-offensive.

    1. Geez Jeff that sounds like a great propaganda ploy…..if Russia is as bad as all say and the amount of equipment training and cash we have sent this thing should be over…..but what can I know with all the propaganda, misinformation, and such there is no way we, the people who pay for this crap, will ever know. chuq

  2. Like I have said before, “Just pull out of Ukraine altogether and let Putin have it so that Putin can then be emboldened to move on to attacking and subduing those parts of Europe that he needs to complete his plan to reconstruct the old Soviet Empire as well as Alaska which too was part of the old Soviet Empire. I am sure that by this time people like Sarah Palin might welcome the chance to become a Russian …I can hear old Puntang now, “Today Ukraine, tomorrow the World.” And I think that between Putin and his new playmate, Xi, that dream of his now edges ever close to reality —

      1. and make sure we are militarily ready to defend ourselves against both the russians and the chinese because right now we are falling years behind them in armament improvements.

      2. If wse must worry I would give more attention to North Korea….they have a record of not caring who they destroy. chuq

  3. Zelensky has been coy about Ukrainian casualty figures, but has revealed that they have lost at least ‘100 a day KIA’, plus double that in wounded.
    That equates to around 42,500 killed, and 85,000 wounded. Those are the bare minimum figures available. I suspect that not only can he never retake Crimea, he might also struggle with the manpower to launch a successful counter-offensive anywhere. He should be talking, not planning for disaster. IMO he still banks on the prospect of NATO troops intervening on the ground and in the air. I cannot see that happening anytime soon.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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