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WSJ: West, Ukraine prepare for next phase of offensive in spring 2024

Ukraine’s attempt to swiftly rout Russian forces has stalled, leading strategists in Kyiv and the West to ready for a grinding war lasting months or years.
WSJ: West, Ukraine prepare for next phase of offensive in spring 2024

Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian forces could continue for many more months, according to military strategists and policymakers in the West. With major breakthroughs seeming unlikely in the near future, preparations are already underway for spring offensives next year and beyond.

“When Kyiv’s counteroffensive began in the spring, optimists hoped Ukrainian troops could replicate their success last year in routing Russian forces. But an initial attempt to use newly supplied Western tanks and armored vehicles to punch through fortified Russian lines stalled,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Since then, Ukraine’s gains have been gradual. The offensive could still gain momentum, but leaders are focused on more extended campaigns. The Wall Street Journal quoted President Biden telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and others that US support will remain steady. The US and allies have pledged long-term security assistance.

However, optimism about quick victories has faded. “I do think there’s a realization in the administration that Ukraine’s not going to be regaining all its territory any time soon,” Ivo Daalder, former ambassador to NATO under President Obama, told the Wall Street Journal.

Western officials hoped significant gains this year could pressure Russia into negotiations, but that seems unlikely now, per diplomatic sources. Instead, Russia is reinforcing defenses while the West boosts military production, risking a grinding war of attrition.

“This war could look like the Korean War, with rapid movement on the front line in the early months and then relative stasis—but it takes years for both sides to realize that,” said Dmitry Gorenburg of the Center for Naval Analyses.

Yet Ukraine can keep fighting this winter despite potential slowdowns. “The Ukrainian military continues to adapt faster than the Russian military,” said Gordon “Skip” Davis, a retired US Army major general.

More Western training and equipment over time may give Ukraine advantages. But Russia is also building defenses, presenting enduring obstacles. Concerns remain that political support could waver, especially with US elections. However, many Republicans still back Ukraine aid, WSJ writes. 

Ukrainian counteroffensive: What is going on?

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