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Ukraine’s 2023 counteroffensive: Ex-minister Zagorodnyuk on what went wrong and what’s next.

Ukraine’s former Minister of Defense and head of the Center for Defense Strategies Andriy Zagorodnyuk sits down with Euromaidan Press editor-in-chief Alya Shandra to discuss whether the accusations levied at Ukraine’s defense officers in the Washington Post two-part article on what went wrong with the 2023 counteroffensive are legit, how the war has entered uncharted territory, the victory plan and million drones that Ukraine needs, the three scenarios of the war’s development in 2024, and why Ukraine’ supporters should not despair.

Key moments:

  • Disagreements existed between Ukrainian and US officials over counteroffensive plans, but playing a “blame game” is unproductive; instead a “lessons learned” analysis is needed
  • Lack of US officers on the ground in Ukraine to provide updated operational information may have undermined advice and wargaming
  • Half of military equipment arriving from some partners was non-functional, causing major issues
  • Defending Bakhmut was strategic to prevent Russia from taking all of Donbas and claiming victory in the “special military operation”
  • Negotiations are unrealistic since Russia is not interested in talks for anything short of Ukraine’s demise
  • Territorial concessions would embolden Putin, not lead to peace
  • Drone and tech advancements are irreversibly changing the war’s dynamics; Ukraine needs to maintain asymmetric capabilities
  • Producing more advanced drones at scale is critical for victory
  • Progress depends on Western allies committing support; aid risks being hampered by US political disputes
  • Forecasts are pointless – Ukraine must influence events toward a positive scenario of increasing capabilities

If you prefer the text version, we’ve prepared a more succinct article for you: 

“Do not despair.” Ex-minister Zagorodnyuk on lessons from Ukraine’s counteroffensive

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