Ukraine's Retribution has go slower to a creep. What's the problem? - USA Trending Blog

Ukraine's Retribution has go slower to a creep. What's the problem? - USA Trending Blog

Ukraine's Retribution has go slower to a creep. What's the problem? - USA Trending Blog

Ukrainian forces have had limited success uprooting entrenched Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine after several weeks of fighting, and significant losses of troops and equipment, according to U.S. officials.

Now the western-backed counteroffensive that began with great hope faces crunch time with fall approaching. The rain and mud of autumn will make the slog even harder.

"There is grinding progress,” said Seth Jones, senior vice president and director of the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It’s the beginning of August. The reality is that it’s not clear how much the Ukrainians will be able to take back in a short time frame.”

The counteroffensive began early in the summer amid high expectations. U.S. and western allies had trained more than 60,000 troops in NATO tactics that stress synchronizing attacks among ground combat units, artillery and air power. The Pentagon provided dozens of armored personnel carriers, and other allies sent modern tanks and equipment.

Visions of quick gains were based in part on last fall’s experience when Ukrainian forces retook swaths of northern Ukraine as Russian troops retreated in disarray.

The war, launched as an illegal, unprovoked invasion in February 2022 by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been enormously bloody and costly. More than 9,300 Ukrainian civilians have been killed and 16,600 wounded, according to the United Nations. Estimates of Russian and Ukrainian troop casualties vary. Russian casualties totaled about 200,000 troops, 40,000 of them killed, U.S. officials estimated this spring. U.S. classified ocuments allegedly leaked by a U.S. airman showed about 125,000 Ukrainian troop casualties, about 17,000 of them killed in action.

The Pentagon has shipped or promised more than $44 billion in military aid to Ukraine. For Putin, the war has been a strategic blunder. Ukrainian resolve dashed his hope of a swift victory in days or weeks. The fighting exposed deficiencies in the Russian army's leadership, training and equipment. Instead of dividing NATO, the alliance added Finland to its ranks, and, along with it, another 800 miles of its border with Russia. Sweden is now poised to become NATO's 32nd nation. But to break the stalemate and advance Ukrainian progress, western officials say Ukraine will need more help in its counteroffensive, including advanced fighter jets to break past Russian defenses in occupied territory.

Ukrainian forces this summer have made minimal gains along a 600-mile front in eastern Ukraine, according to U.S. officials who were not authorized to speak publicly. Some potentially significant thrusts have been made in recent days.

But thus far little ground has been retaken. In most spots, progress is measured in tenths of a mile, said one U.S. official who was not authorized to speak publicly. That’s not a lot considering Russia illegally occupies about 20% of Ukraine.

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