Aleksey Danilov’s remarks come as Ukrainian attacks remain bogged down by Russian defenses, according to Moscow
There is no timetable for making progress in Ukraine’s much-touted counteroffensive, Aleksey Danilov, the head of its National Security and Defense Council, has said. His comments come amid reports that the country’s Western backers are frustrated by Kiev’s failure to make substantial battlefield gains.
Speaking on national TV on Wednesday, Danilov stressed that “no one but us can impose deadlines” and “there is no schedule” for the counteroffensive which Moscow says has not managed to gain any ground.
He also lashed out at those who raise the issue in the first place, insisting that only “those who don’t understand what war means” indulge in such speculation.
According to Danilov, he has never used the word “counteroffensive” to describe the ongoing fighting in Ukraine. “There are military actions, they are complex, difficult, [and] depend on many factors,” the official explained. He added that Kiev’s troops have adopted a NATO system which he said means that it is up to local commanders to choose a particular tactic to accomplish a greater objective.
He also pointed out that Russian troops prepared formidable defenses to meet the counteroffensive. “The number of mines that… our military has to overcome is simply insane,” Danilov acknowledged, adding that while some believed Western equipment would help Ukraine advance, those hopes have been dashed, as in many areas progress can only be made on foot.
After months of preparation, Ukrainian troops launched a major attack against Russian lines in early June but failed to take any ground, according to Moscow. On July 11, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that Kiev had lost more than 26,000 service members since the start of the push. He later claimed that Ukraine had lost nearly 21,000 soldiers in the last month alone.
Meanwhile, reports by CNN and Financial Times, published in late June, indicated that Kiev’s allies in the West were disappointed with its progress on the battlefield, with FT sources suggesting that further military support could be contingent on the campaign’s outcome.
Another recent report from Politico indicated that “if Ukraine’s supporters were hoping for a breakthrough… they were sorely disappointed,” with one of the outlet’s sources saying that gains “are being measured in the hundreds of meters.”
Ukrainian officials, however, have blamed the difficulties on the lack of Western-supplied munitions and shipment delays. The recurring complaints led to a spat with Warsaw when Marcin Przydacz, head of the international policy bureau within the Polish presidential administration, insisted that Ukraine should be more grateful for the aid it receives from its neighbor. Kiev responded by summoning the Polish envoy and slamming his comments as “unacceptable.”
August 03, 2023 at 04:09PM