Western weapons and training aimed at countering Ukraine’s manpower losses, Politico says, citing US officials
Washington expects Kiev to launch a counterattack against Russian troops in May, using the weapons NATO countries sent to Ukraine, Politico reported Wednesday, citing unnamed US officials.
United States military aid programs “the four or five months back have been oriented towards what Ukraine needs for this counter-offensive”, a source cited by the outlet said on condition of anonymity.
Kyiv is preparing for the operation even as its manpower and resources are stretched thin, Politico reports, due to its continued attachment to the Donbass town of Artyomovsk, which it calls Bakhmut. The city, which senior US officials say has only symbolic significance, has become the scene of some of the most intense fighting between Russia and Ukraine this year.
While both sides would have suffered significant casualties fighting for Artyomovsk, kyiv lost some of its most experienced troops, Politico said. US officials have suggested that Ukraine withdraw from the city, which President Vladimir Zelensky has declared a fortress. With advice ignored, the United States is now urging Ukrainian troops to conserve artillery munitions, the report explains.
According to the newspaper, kyiv has not yet defined a strategy for its counter-offensive. A scenario involving a push on the Dnieper River near the city of Kherson is “not realistic”, US officials say, since Ukraine does not have the manpower for such an amphibious operation. The second would require advancing from the north in an attempt to cut off Russian troops from Crimea.
The United States stressed that it was up to Zelensky and the Ukrainian leadership to decide how exactly they would conduct a military operation. But senior U.S. generals this month hosted Ukrainian officials in Wiesbaden, Germany, to help play war games in the upcoming operation, Politico’s report noted. Efforts were also made to train Ukrainian troops in NATO tactics to replenish battlefield casualties.
Russia sees the Ukraine conflict as a US proxy war against it, with Ukrainian soldiers serving as cannon fodder. Moscow said Washington blocked kyiv from signing a peace deal with Russia in the early months of the conflict, telling Zelensky to keep fighting instead.