The New York Times in a weekend story admitted that things are looking grim for the chances of Ukraine's counteroffensive, acknowledging that President Zelensky had been forced to put it on "pause" at one point.
The story, headlined "After Suffering Heavy Losses, Ukrainians Paused To Rethink Strategy" still sought to put a positive spin on the dire situation for Kiev:
Some of the improvement came because Ukraine changed tactics, focusing more on wearing down the Russian forces with artillery and long-range missiles than charging into enemy minefields and fire.
But that good news obscures some grim realities. The losses have also slowed because the counteroffensive itself has slowed — and even halted in places — as Ukrainian soldiers struggle against Russia’s formidable defenses. And despite the losses, the Ukrainians have so far taken just five of the 60 miles they hope to cover to reach the sea in the south and split the Russian forces in two.
This after admitting that only within the first couple weeks of the counteroffensive Ukraine forces lost some 20% of the weaponry newly supplied by the West, including tanks and armored vehicles. The much-vaunted offensive had kicked off in May, but hasn't translated to any major gains.
"This week, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, acknowledged that there had been a brief pause in operations some weeks ago but blamed it on a lack of equipment and munitions, and called on Western allies to quicken the pace of deliveries," wrote the Times.
The report underscored that that the Pentagon has since publicly acknowledged the "pause", but then added: "American officials acknowledged the pause and said that the Ukrainians had begun moving again, but more deliberately, more adept at navigating minefields and mindful of the casualty risks."
As for Zelensky, he said in Friday words to the nation that "We must all understand very clearly, as clearly as possible, that Russian forces in our southern and eastern lands are doing everything they can in order to stop our soldiers." He added, "And every thousand metres we advance, every success of every combat brigade deserves our gratitude."
Very quickly after the counteroffensive kicked off last month, he admitted "slower than expected" pace while also complaining that more Western weapons and artillery are badly needed.
This, btw, is not the first such admission: https://t.co/DgkWxjRFGE— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) July 14, 2023
The start of the counteroffensive some two months ago was accompanied by glowing Western mainstream media accounts of the rapid successes that would be wrought. Even before that, most accounts of the battlefield situation were heavily skewed to fit a pro-Kiev, pro-West narrative - but the reality has proven much messier and ultimately illusory.