America’s “Plan A” in Ukraine is on life support.
For months, U.S. officials had looked ahead to the Zelensky government’s long-planned counteroffensive as the best hope for turning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine into a decisive failure, forcing Putin to sue for peace. They posited that even if Ukraine ultimately proved incapable of driving Russian forces off all of Ukraine’s territory, the counteroffensive would give Kyiv significant leverage at the diplomatic table. At a minimum, Ukraine would emerge from the war as a strong and independent nation, boasting a Western-backed military more than capable of blocking any new Russian aggression for years to come.
Some six weeks into the Ukrainian counteroffensive, things are not going as planned. Although damage estimates vary, Ukraine has lost significant numbers of men and weapons, while making negligible progress against formidable Russian defenses.
Despite vigorous recruiting and conscription efforts, Ukraine has too few soldiers to muster the three-to-one manpower advantage generally considered necessary for a successful offensive. Its supplies of artillery shells and anti-aircraft missiles, vital to battlefield success, are dwindling. As a result, Russia’s air force—which was sparingly used last year in the face of effective Ukrainian air defenses—is now operating more actively near the front lines, devastating Ukraine’s attacking forces.
Read the full piece in Time Magazine.