Ukraine's FM Tells Critics Of Counteroffensive To "Shut Up" After NYT Piece

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Aug 31, 2023 - 11:20 PM

In angry words which sound more like something one would hear on an elementary school playground, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday lashed out at critics of Kiev's failing counteroffensive by telling them to... "shut up". Here's Reuters reporting the unusual statement:

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba hit out on Thursday at critics of Kyiv's tactics in its counter-offensive against Russia's invasion, saying they were spitting in the faces of Ukrainian soldiers and should "shut up".

"Criticizing the slow pace of (the) counter-offensive equals ... spitting into the face of (the) Ukrainian soldier who sacrifices his life every day, moving forward and liberating one kilometeter of Ukrainian soil after another," Kuleba told a press conference at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Toledo, Spain.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Getty Images

He then sarcastically urged all critics to go to Ukraine themselves and fight if they think they can do it better. Standing alongside Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares at the Thursday presser, he said:

"I would recommend all critics to shut up, come to Ukraine and try to liberate one square centimeter by themselves."

Ironically he appeared to be responding to his biggest backer - Washington, in a "bite the hand that feeds you" moment.

Last week, The New York Times published a scathing critique of Ukraine's battlefield tactics and overall strategy. The report was based on anonymous US officials who complained that Ukraine's leaders weren't heeding the Pentagon's advice.

"American strategists say Ukraine’s troops are too spread out and need to concentrate along the counteroffensive’s main front in the south," the Times wrote, in what amounted to an explainer on why the counteroffensive is failing.

The report also complained that Ukraine (like Russia) fights "under old Soviet Communist war doctrine" in a clear swipe. The theme of the criticism centered on Kiev rejecting Pentagon guidance, hence a stalled and losing counteroffensive:

But some analysts say the progress may be too little too late. The fighting is taking place on mostly flat, unforgiving terrain, which favors the defenders. The Russians are battling from concealed positions that Ukrainian soldiers often see only when they are feet away. Hours after Ukrainians clear a field of mines, the Russians sometimes fire another rocket that disperses more of them at the same location.

Under American war doctrine, there is always a main effort to ensure that maximum resources go to a single front, even if supporting forces are fighting in other areas to hedge against failure or spread-out enemy defenses.

So clearly, based on this new outburst of Kuleba in telling external critics to "shut-up", the Ukrainians were outraged upon seeing the Times article which highlighted the complaints of US officials. It also serves as confirmation that indeed the battlefield situation is quite dire for Ukraine.