You got to give the New York Times and the Washington Post reporters credit for one thing–they are tenacious in the art of self-delusion. They report the news without understanding the implications and contradictions in their reporting.
First up, the clueless the New York Times:
The Ukrainians have been setting the stage for a broad counteroffensive in the southern Kherson region for weeks, and recent long-range rocket strikes have left thousands of Russian soldiers stationed west of the Dnipro River, in and around the port city of Kherson, in a precarious position, largely cut off from Russian strongholds to the east.
But Russia is now moving “the maximum number” of forces to the southern front in the Kherson region, the head of Ukraine’s National Security Council told Ukrainian television late Wednesday. The official, Oleksiy Danilov, described “a very powerful movement of their troops” to the front in Kherson.
While Western weapons have poured into the country, Ukraine said more arms were still needed and ammunition remained limited. Some Ukrainian officials have grown increasingly frustrated with what they believe is the slow pace of weapons deliveries from Western allies. Donor nations are training Ukrainian soldiers to use the new equipment, but that, too, remains a work in progress.
“Just give them weapons and let them work,” said Natalya Gumenyuk, the spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern military command, which is responsible for the Kherson offensive.
Note the source for the “news” that Russian soldiers are stranded and in a “precarious” position–it is all from official Ukrainian spokes-models. If the Ukrainian military really had the Russian army on the ropes, why is Ukraine pleading for more arms and ammunition? Seriously, the United States has supplied Ukraine with more weapons in the last four months then it provided to the once invincible Afghan army and Ukraine has exhausted those supplies?
The Ukrainian military no longer has a fixed-wing jet fighter/bomber capability. Ukraine does not have an intact tank regiment. What is it going to do? An old school, over the top a la World War I mass charge by Ukrainian troops? Launching HIMARS at one bridge is not a game changer.
The real interesting tidbit in the NY Times report is the claim, again sourced to Ukrainian officials, that Russia is moving the maximum number of troops to Kherson. How can Russia do that if it is struggling to attract new recruits to fill its devastated ranks? And where are those troops coming from? Not the Donbas.
According to the Washington Post, President Zelensky wants all civilians still living in the part of the Donetsk Republic still controlled by Ukraine to get the hell out:
Zelensky issued a mandatory evacuation order for civilians still living in the war-torn eastern region of Donetsk, saying many were refusing to leave. “There are hundreds of thousands of people, tens of thousands of children … many people refuse to leave … but it really needs to be done,” he said in his nightly address. Russian forces have seized large areas of Donetsk but observers say its offensive has slowed.
If Ukraine was prevailing and pushing the Russians back, why must the inhabitants of Donetsk flee to the western part of Ukraine? In fact, according to the Post reporters, Russia has “seized large areas of Donetsk”. What Zelensky knows is that the folks who still live in the Donbas are Russian speakers and welcome the Russian troops as liberators. If you feared the Russians and were living in Donetsk and the Russians were approaching your town, would Zelensky have to order you to get out? No. It is ridiculous.
One more indicator of desperation on the part of Zelensky. Why ask people who allegedly support you to abandon territory if you, i.e. Zelensky, have a legitimate chance of reversing the Russian offensive? You don’t. You call on them to take up arms and fight the Russians. That is not happening.
Meanwhile, back in the United States, US military analysts are briefing the chain of command that Ukraine is coming apart at the seams. The boys and girls at the Defense Intelligence Agency can no longer hide the fact that Ukraine is not winning and has no path forward to victory. This growing acknowledgement of Ukraine’s dire situation is likely to generate push back from Austin and Milley to stop recklessly pouring more US weapons and equipment into the rapidly growing black hole that is Ukraine. Even those two political sychophants are acquainted with Kenny Roger’s ballad, The Gambler.