Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov has told Foreign Policy magazine in a newly published interview that he was told by Kiev's NATO backers to "kill as many Russians" as possible even if Ukraine doesn't get all the weapons it wants. This was early in the conflict, before Western allies had committed large quantities of things like anti-tank and anti-air missiles, as well as main battle tanks.
The interview, titled by FP "Ukraine’s Winnable War," presents a case for the West helping Ukraine to retake all of its territory. Reznikov at one point tells FP the following:
"We asked, ‘can we have stingers?': he said in the interview published on Tuesday. "We were told, 'No, dig trenches and kill as many Russians as you can before it’s over.' People thought our victory was impossible."
Now, Reznikov boasted, Ukraine has been given "Bradleys, Strykers, Abrams, Leopards, and more," and will soon be equipped with American-made F-16 fighter jets.
FP narrates that eventually Ukraine's West-supplied armor will be supported from the air by F-16 fighter jets provided by Europe, after Ukrainian pilots get fully trained on them.
As 'proof' for its optimism over Kiev's chances of winning, the FP offers the following while quoting Reznikov:
The Stingers came, and the HIMARS, and the Patriots, which I watched shoot down Russia’s supposedly unstoppable hypersonic Kinzhal missiles. Now, Reznikov said, Ukraine has “Bradleys, Strykers, Abrams, Leopards, and more.” And, eventually, the armor will be supported by F-16s.
The fresh, well-equipped, highly motivated Ukrainian brigades taking part in the offensive, meanwhile, are facing tired Russian forces with low spirits, little personal investment, and mediocre leadership. Like the Arab countries that fought Israel half a century ago, Russia has more manpower and materiel than its opponent but isn’t putting them to good use.
The Kremlin has maintained its rejection of the narrative out of the West that its 'unstoppable' Kinzhal missiles were actually shot down.
And more from the FP:
Officials in Kyiv do not believe this campaign alone can end the war. "Our goal is the full expulsion of Russia from Ukrainian territory," said Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. "If the offensive achieves that, it will be the last. If not, there will be more. If our weapons supplies get cut off, Ukraine will just shift to lower intensity war. We won’t give up; we won’t accept territorial losses." Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv and a former world heavyweight champion boxer, echoed the point. "The goal is the 1991 borders, including Crimea. Maybe this year, maybe not. We can hope, but just have to keep going. It’s only a matter of time before Russia breaks." Like the Russians, the Ukrainians see the war as not just a test of arms but a test of wills and are convinced they have the advantage in both.
The "kill as many Russians" as possible line quoted in the interview sounds very consistent with what Sen. Lindsay Graham controversially boasted about last month in Kiev...
"The Russians are dying. It is the best money we've ever spent."— The Poll Lady (@ThePollLady) May 28, 2023
~ Lindsey Graham, United States Senator laughs while Ukraine President Zelenskyy nods.
Meanwhile, counterterrorism expert and geopolitical analyst Max Abrahms has pointed out that all of this portents that a very long war will result...
"The Ukraine war won’t end for a very, very long time. We never before added a NATO country already at war in perpetuity," Abrahms said Wednesday. "That’s not containment. It’s broadening the war at the expense of citizens from countries who have been lied to about the origins and risks of the conflict."