Counter-offensive falters: how is Ukraine getting on?


Ukraine launched its long-awaited counter-offensive in its defensive war against Russia on 4 June. But unlike last autumn, it has so far failed to make significant territorial gains and the Ukrainian army is coming under extreme pressure on several sectors of the front. Commentators assess the developments and discuss what they mean in terms of support from the West.


Dnevnik (BG) /

A bit of a flop

Ukraine is making painfully slow progress, writes Dnevnik:

“According to deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar, Ukraine has recaptured only 241 square kilometres in the south and south-east in the two months since the counteroffensive began. ... Russia continues to occupy one-fifth of the country. ... The spring offensive has become the summer offensive. Soon it will be continued as the autumn offensive. The Russians keep calling it a ‘failure’, and if you look at the map, you have to agree.”

Angel Petrow
Echo (RU) /

Sinking in their own swamp

In a Telegram post republished by Echo, political scientist Vladimir Pastukhov gives the Kremlin no chance of victory:

“The unexpected tenacity of the Ukrainians, who have demonstrated their uncompromising willingness to fight Russia like the Afghan mujahideen once did, has exposed weaknesses of Putin’s ‘new empire’ that had not been apparent before. ... For Russia, a war which started as a refreshing shower has turned into an endless tropical rain that turns meadows into swamps. And now they can’t get their boots out of them. What’s more, the willingness of the Ukrainians (not only of Zelensky and his office) to fight will determine the direction of history more than the West’s desire to stop the war at some point.”

Vladimir Pastukhov
Karar (TR) /

Black Sea no longer safe

Karar observes with concern that the war has come so close to Turkey:

“The fact that the mood on the Black Sea is heating up and it is increasingly becoming the subject of fierce conflicts worries the whole world and, of course, above all the states that border on it, in particular Turkey. ... It is quite possible that the attacks on the ports of the two countries will not stop there. Ukraine’s decision to make the Russian city of Novorossiysk as an unsafe port could hit the international oil trade hard. Events in the Black Sea need to be monitored more closely.”

İsmet Berkan
Diena (LV) /

Danger of waning enthusiasm among supporters

Diena looks worriedly to the US, where according to a recent CNN survey more than half of the population is against sending more aid to Ukraine:

“Even for Ukraine’s most ardent supporters, it will be hard not to react to the mood among the voters in the run-up to the US presidential election. But unfortunately this reaction also weakens the desire of other Western countries to continue supporting Ukraine, all the more so because similar trends can be observed there as well. If there is one thing that is not being taken into account, it’s the fact that a ceasefire would certainly not put an end to Russian aggression but at best only temporarily freeze the conflict.”

Andis Sedlenieks
LRT (LT) /

People in the West still stand by Ukraine

Commenting on LRT, political scientist Linas Kojala sees no signs of support for Ukraine weakening in the West:

“The fears about the West growing weary which the Kremlin leadership had so heavily counted on have not been confirmed up to now. True, support for Ukraine is stagnating — it could be faster and more comprehensive. But the decision-makers are not under pressure from the electorate to fundamentally change course. ... For now, we should be glad that the unity of the West has withstood the challenges. The most important prerequisite for this is the self-sacrificing struggle of Ukrainians in defence of their country and Europe as a whole.”

Linas Kojala

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