CIA’s Burns Visited Ukraine To Talk Counteroffensive?

This visit took place in June. Prior to the Prigozhin incident

Washington Post

Ukrainian officials revealed an ambitious strategy to retake Russian-occupied territory and open cease-fire negotiations with Moscow by the end of the year, according to officials familiar with the visit.

It’s the first of July/23. Are we to believe the counter offensive has yet to begin? Or is this an admission that the much vaunted counter offensive failed and ceasefire negotiations are being planned.

The trip by Burns, which has not been previously reported, included meetings with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukraine’s top intelligence officials. It came at a critical moment in the conflict as Ukrainian forces struggle to gain an early advantage in their long-awaited counteroffensive but have yet to deploy most of their Western-trained and -equipped assault brigades.

Ukraine’s forces have yet to gain any advantage, early or late. And they’ve yet to deploy their western trained and equipped assault brigades? Hasn’t western equipment and trained forces been at play all along? Yes, they have!

Publicly, Ukrainian officials have expressed frustration with critics of the pace at which the counteroffensive has played out thus far. But in private, military planners in Kyiv have relayed to Burns and others bullish confidence in their aim to retake substantial territory by the fall; move artillery and missile systems near the boundary line of Russian-controlled Crimea; push further into eastern Ukraine; and then open negotiations with Moscow for the first time since peace talks broke down in March of last year, according to three people familiar with the planning.

“Russia will only negotiate if it feels threatened,” said a senior Ukrainian official.

Whether Ukraine can deliver on those plans, on such a truncated timeline, remains to be seen. The CIA declined to comment when asked for Burns’s assessment of the offensive’s prospects.

Negotiations broke down in March of last year because of the Americans.

Zelensky and his military commanders, facing deeply entrenched Russian forces in occupied parts of Ukraine’s east and south, are under extraordinary pressure from the Western nations that provided Kyiv with billions of dollars in advanced weaponry and training ahead of the counteroffensive.

Let me repeat what’s stated above. What is already known

Ukraine’s forces have yet to gain any advantage, early or late. And they’ve yet to deploy their western trained and equipped assault brigades? Hasn’t western equipment and trained forces been at play all along? Yes, they have!

Ukraine has taken heavy casualties as its troops and armored vehicles navigate thick minefields and fortified trenches across wide-open territory. The challenging terrain has left troops vulnerable to Russian airstrikes and missile attacks.

Zelensky has acknowledged that the counteroffensive is going “slower than desired,” and officials have confirmed the destruction of some Western-provided Leopard 2 tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles.

But Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has dismissed skeptics, saying the “main event” is yet to come, while the country’s top military commander, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, has called for patience, saying the offensive is being “carried out” as diligently as possible.

“Yes, maybe not as fast as … the observers would like, but that is their problem,” Zaluzhny told The Washington Post this week.

Military analysts say Ukraine’s goal of forcing a negotiation is ambitious given Russia’s fortified defenses, but not out of the question.

“It’s possible they can cut off the land bridge to Crimea, either by seizing the terrain or putting it within range of HIMARS and other artillery, but much depends on the level of attrition,” said Rob Lee, a military analyst at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

From all information I’ve come across the “attrition”has been tremendous. The numbers of dead have been horribly large. Ukraine is really allowing it’s citizens to fight America’s proxy war to the last drop of Ukrainian blood.

“If Ukraine sustains too many losses, its offensive could culminate early. But if Ukraine can inflict enough losses on Russian forces and equipment, and interdict the movement of reinforcements, Ukraine may be able to weaken Moscow’s defenses enough to achieve a breakthrough,” he added.

Is this why it looks as if the offensive has culminated early? Unless the situation drastically changes- the counter offensive/offensive appears to have petered out.

In preparation for the fall, Zelensky and top aides have begun thinking about how Kyiv can force an end to the fighting on terms that are acceptable to Russia and the Ukrainian people”

This is an admission of failure- If you were winning you wouldn’t look to end fighting on terms that are acceptable to the losing side. You, as the victor, would be dictating the settlement terms!

“If Ukraine has the capability to target additional important airfields, bridges, rail lines and logistics hubs, they can make it more difficult for Russia to sustain the war,” said Lee, the military analyst.

In agreeing not to take Crimea by force, Kyiv would then demand that Russia accept whatever security guarantees Ukraine can secure from the West, said Ukrainian officials.

Obtaining those guarantees, however, has been a tall order.

The Zelensky government has pushed hard for the United States and Europe to make firm commitments on Ukraine’s accession to NATO and the European Union — but the U.S. and Western European governments remain cold to the idea

The hesitance has frustrated Poland and the Baltic states, NATO member countries that are looking ahead to next month’s NATO summit in Lithuania, where Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other Western leaders have said they intend to provide a “very robust package” to Ukraine. Strong disagreements over the contents of the package threaten to project an image of disunity at the gathering.

“The problem is that Russia has emplaced a large number of mines, both in front of and behind the main defensive line,” said Lee. “Even if Ukraine can achieve a breakthrough, it will still take time to exploit. It may take weeks, it may take months.”

It seems highly unlikely Ukraine has months to succeed. They’ve had month already and have only lost more ground. Lost more territory.

Are we going to be seeing some sort of negotiated settlement on the horizon?

Ukrainians will have to ask themselves if fighting for the US was really worth all the death, destruction and loss of their nation state assets. The loss of their future. They could have settled last year in March.

It seems to me this article is suggesting, without implicitly stating that Ukraine has no good options.

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