By David Sole
September 4 marks the end of three months of the much hyped Ukraine “counter offensive” against Russian Federation troops. Originally announced goals were to drive back Russia from the eastern and southern provinces which had voted to join Russia in the Fall of 2022. Ukraine also proclaimed that it would reclaim Crimea which had voted to join Russia in 2014 following a fascist, U.S. sponsored coup.
But at the start of the fourth month into this offensive Ukraine has lost tens of thousands of troops killed or wounded. Large numbers of heavy armor, tanks, armored personnel carriers and Bradley fighting vehicles litter the landscape as burned out hulks. No breakthrough of the strong Russian fortifications has taken place anywhere along the 600 mile line of contact.
The Western press cannot ignore these stark facts. So they have shifted their reporting to highlight small advances made by Ukrainian forces in the area south of Orikhiv in the Zaporizhzhya province. Prominent in many reports is the Ukrainian “victory” in “taking the town of Robotino.”
First thing to note is that Robotino is neither a town nor a village. It has more properly been described as a hamlet or settlement of a few houses. Robotino is not even on the first of three layers of heavily fortified Russian defense lines. Yet the Russian defense of Robotino was fierce and Ukraine was reported as having to reinforce their attacking troops with many units from its reserves, having suffered heavy casualties. Some reports also claim that Russian forces still hold some of the settlement.
But the Western media needs to play this up as a big advance since public opinion has been shifting against continuing to finance the Ukraine proxy war. On September 2 a New York Times team of reporters was permitted to interview front line soldiers on the southern Zaporizhzhya front. Big breakthroughs are no longer predicted. The soldiers they met with had “the mission … to take a single house, in a single village.”
No longer are heavy U.S. and NATO supplied weapons and equipment being used. These Ukrainians are organized into a “small assault team – none of whom had seen combat before – as other Ukrainian units crawled through minefields.” According to the Times “daily success is measured in yards rather than miles.”
Future prospects for these “new” Ukrainian tactics are not rosy. “Russians have more artillery, more tanks, more drones, and more people” said a veteran marine. Russian tactics are also evolving. Russian minefields “are even more lethal. They will lace a pasture filled with mines with a flammable agent … . Once the Ukrainians get to work clearing an opening the Russians will drop a grenade from a drone, igniting a sea of fire and explosions.”
Many of the best Ukrainian forces have been assigned to the southern front, but even there their newly trained recruits are facing battle with little training from their NATO masters. On the front lines of the east and northeast, Ukrainian troops are being hammered and often retreating under heavy Russian pressure.
The Business Insider, quoting the Kyiv Independent, ran a story on September 3 titled “NATO-trained Ukrainian recruits admit they’re being overpowered by Russia’s battle-hardened troops in the northern sector.”
These soldiers got “just three weeks of NATO basic training in Germany” before being sent into battle. The report says the troops “are feeling demoralized as they struggle to cope with Russia’s better-equipped and ‘fearless’ soldiers.”
“Everything is not like what you read in daily briefings and on the news,” said an infantry sergeant named Volodymyr. “To jump out from that basement and shoot aimlessly in their general direction, then end up without an arm or leg, or just dead? What’s the point” he complained.
Russian forces have been advancing toward Kupyansk, which before the war had a population of 27,000. The Russians have also repeatedly beaten back Ukrainian attacks on the town of Bakhmut (population 71,000 before the war) which fell to the Russians in May of this year.
Unwilling to give up their proxy war to “weaken Russia” despite the failures of the Ukraine military actions, the U.S. and its NATO allies are already planning the next bloodbath for the Ukrainians. The New Voice of Ukraine reported on August 14 “With Ukraine’s 2023 counteroffensive ongoing, [the] West starts to think about [a] 2024 spring offensive.”
These reports pay no mind to the increasing difficulty of filling Ukraine’s military ranks and the difficulty the West is having in supplying much more of the massive heavy weaponry after the past year and a half of draining their own stockpiles.
At some point the Ukrainian people will have to put up a fight against their own politicians and military leaders who have led them into this senseless and losing conflict with their larger neighbor. And people in Europe and the United States must intensify their opposition to this bloody and costly imperialist adventure.