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Washington Post: US intel says Ukraine will not achieve key offensive goal this year

Ukrainian troops are unlikely to be able to reach Melitopol due to extensive system of Russian minefields and trenches
The first day of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, 24 February 2022. Ukrainian troops are on their positions near Kharkiv. The battle with the Russian army preceded. Photo by Maks Levin, killed by Russian troops in spring.
Washington Post: US intel says Ukraine will not achieve key offensive goal this year

Ukrainian troops are unlikely to reach the southeastern city of Melitopol this year, the most important Russian transit hub. Thus, Ukraine will not be able to fulfill one of the main goals of the offensive operation – to destroy the Crimean Bridge, The Washington Post reported citing a US intelligence assessment.

US intelligence analysis suggests that the Russian occupation forces are fighting fierce resistance and defending themselves with a wide system of minefields and trenches.

According to the WP, this assessment is “likely to prompt finger pointing inside Kyiv and Western capitals about why a counteroffensive that saw tens of billions of dollars of Western weapons and military equipment fell short of its goals.”

Melitopol is critical in the Ukrainian counteroffensive, considered the gateway to Crimea. Situated at the convergence of two vital highways and a railroad line, the city enables Russia to transfer troops and equipment from the peninsula to other occupied regions in southern Ukraine.

In the first week of the counteroffensive, Ukraine suffered significant losses against a well-prepared Russian defense. Now, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have decided to move forward with small units in different parts of the front to minimize losses, The Washington Post states.

The Washington Post also notes that Ukraine has lost considerable resources in the battle for Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast, which is why the Biden administration is concerned that commitments in the east could undermine the potential for a counteroffensive in the south.

The new intelligence assessment coincides with a secret February US forecast that indicated that equipment and troop shortages could mean a counteroffensive would be far from achieving Ukraine’s goal of severing the land bridge to Crimea by August. This assessment was set out in a classified document posted on the social network Discord by US soldier Alex Teixeira.

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