Assessment of the state of the Ukraine War July 2023

Research by Csaba Barbanás Horváth

June and early July were marked by two main events. First, the Ukraine launched its much-anticipated counteroffensive but has so far failed to achieve a significant breakthrough, taking only a few villages along the line of control. The failure of the Ukrainian counterattack shows a serious US miscalculation of the disposition of forces. The situation during the winter offered two clear options for the US and NATO. If they judged the risks of escalating the conflict with Russia too then the rational decision would have been to encourage Ukraine to end the conflict with an armistice along the actual line of control sometime during the winter of 2022-2023, to spare Ukraine from the losses of an unsuccessful counteroffensive, not to mention civilian losses throughout the months since then. If however, the US judged the situation suitable to strike a decisive blow against Russia by supporting a major Ukrainian counteroffensive, the rational choice would have been to provide Ukraine with all the necessary equipment for success, including items such as not dozens, but hundreds of M1-Abrams main battle tanks, F-16 aircraft, ATACMS missiles, at the very start of the counteroffensive, to make sure it succeeded. Instead of choosing either of these two options, the United States appears indecisive, encouraging Ukraine’s counteroffensive, but as it turned out, out of the fear of escalation, it did not provide it with the equipment necessary for success.

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