Ukrainian field commanders have begun shooting deserters as Ukrainian leadership balks at US demands to sacrifice more men and President Zelenski concedes “it is very hard for us.” US advisers worry that the halting Ukrainian offensive will not be repeated anytime soon. “We built up this mountain of steel for the counteroffensive. We can’t do that again,” an official told the Wall Street Journal.
Commanders from the 123rd territorial defense brigade “have shot 23 of their own fighters for attempting to desert from their positions near Kherson,” Sputnik News reports, citing a source with the Ukrainian armed forces.
“Information was obtained from sources in the armed forces of Ukraine on the execution of 23 servicemen of the 123rd brigade of the territorial defense of the armed forces of Ukraine on August 11 in Kherson because they decided to desert and abandon their positions,” a Russian security source said, claiming Russia managed to learn the names of 10 killed fighters which Ukraine had concealed by adding the names of the executed soldiers to the list of missing people to cover up the incident, Sputnik claims.
At a joint press conference with Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo in Kiev, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky conceded that “We can see in which directions we are moving forward, but it is very hard for us, there are thousands of mines … We are pushing forward, little by little,” Zelensky said.
While Ukrainian forces captured the village of Robotyne, in southern Ukraine, this leaves them exposed to Russian artillery, missile and drone attacks. “All units from the combat-worthy groupings and the much-touted Marun battlegroup were practically destroyed and sustained heavy losses both among personnel and Western equipment,” Zaporozhye Governor Yevgeny Balitsky claimed on Thursday. 230 Ukrainians of the 37th and 38th AFU Marine brigades were hit near the village of Urozhaynoye Wednesday, Russia claims, with a total of 625 Ukrainian casualties on all fronts Wednesday.
Nebenzya noted that “experts from Die Welt newspaper calculated that Kiev needs to mobilize another 3 million people to defeat Russia, despite the fact that the population of Ukraine, according to the UN, has decreased from 48.2 million people in 2001 to … 29 million. But Ukraine’s Western sponsors do not feel sorry for them at all because, as Polish President Andrzej Duda put it, Russia can now be defeated cheaply because, quote, ‘American soldiers are not dying’.”
As the Ukrainian offensive makes only halting progress, Ukrainian and US commanders argue over the reasons for their failure and how to proceed next, the Wall Street Journal reports, with US officials pressing for more high-casualty attacks while Uklraine seeks to coinserve its forces.
“Some Ukrainian soldiers who have been fighting from the beginning of the war expressed frustration that the tanks and armored vehicles had been given to newly formed units that include soldiers with little or no combat experience,” the WSJ reports. ”The share of Ukrainian soldiers in the U.S.-trained battalions who have previous combat experience varies from about 50% to 70%, U.S. officials say.”
Ukrainian soldiers “say the reality of fighting on first contact with the enemy shocked them. One soldier from the 47th Brigade recounted an assault on a Russian trench, the company’s first infantry engagement in real war, which was against one of the best-fortified lines that Russia has in all of Ukraine.”
“However tough exercises were, it’s much harder,” the WSJ quotes the soldier.
While U.S. military officials have been “urging the Ukrainians to return to the combined arms training they received at allied bases in Europe by concentrating their forces to try to bust through Russia defenses and push to the Sea of Azov”, the Ukrainians a balk at sacrificing more men to the “Meat Grinder“ of dug-in Russian defences.
“You don’t understand the nature of this conflict,” Ukrainian armed forces commander Gen. Valery Zaluzhny told U.S. officials. “This is not counterinsurgency. This is Kursk,” Zaluzhny, referring to the largest tank battle in history, which took place just north-east of Ukraine in 1943.
The Americans insist that the $43 billion in weaponry the US has sent “is enough for this offensive and is unlikely to be repeated at anywhere near the same level in 2024”, the WSJ writes.
“We built up this mountain of steel for the counteroffensive. We can’t do that again,” one former U.S. official said. “It doesn’t exist.”
Ritter quotes the famous aphorism ascribed to Albert Eistein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”