Ukraine’s 2023 counteroffensive declaration a mistake, next not before fall 2025 — former US Ambassador McFaul

Ukrainian soldiers
Ukrainian soldiers

Ukraine will be able to initiate new counteroffensive actions on the front no earlier than fall 2025, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, said, Voice of America reported on May 2.

Read also: Former NATO commander urges Ukraine to study past wars for effective counteroffensive

Ukraine will seek to defend its territory from advancing Russian forces until then.

The expectations of a Ukrainian counteroffensive in 2023 did not materialize, McFaul said, criticizing labeling these military operations as “counteroffensives.” War often involves a series of offensive actions — a few “counteroffensives.”

“You don’t announce them before you do them,” he said.

“I think that was a mistake, and hopefully, we won’t repeat it.”

Read also: Ukraine needs more weapons for decisive victory - ex-NATO chief

Ukrainian counteroffensive will likely become feasible in fall 2025 when new weapon systems are deployed on the battlefield in Ukraine, and pilots are trained on F-16 fighters, McFaul said. Ukrainians need to maintain their defense until then.

“Dictators can organize better than democracies,” he said, adding that while U.S. aid to Ukraine was delayed, Russia continued to receive weapons from Iran and North Korea, as well as technology from China.

The delay in American aid had a “demoralizing” effect on Ukrainians and led to significant damage to Ukraine’s air defense and energy systems, McFaul said. Russia’s devastating attacks may render Ukraine incapable of providing heating and light to its people in winter.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on April 27 that the Ukrainian Armed Forces were likely to stabilize the front line in the coming months despite Russian mass assault storms and launch a limited counteroffensive in late 2024 or early 2025.

Ukraine’s new counteroffensive

If the situation on the battlefield is stabilized, Ukraine would be able to arm and train new brigades in the rear to launch a new counteroffensive this year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said earlier in an interview with The Washington Post.

Zelenskyy said later in an interview with German newspaper Bild that Ukraine has a plan for a counteroffensive, but that it needs weapons, including from the United States. He admitted that Russia has more manpower and weapons, but expressed optimism that Ukraine could gain an advantage due to the quality of its weapons.

Read also: Advanced missiles enable Ukraine to strike deeper into Russian territories — ISW report

The Ukrainian military currently has only enough artillery munitions for defensive actions, he added.

Ground Forces Commander Oleksandr Pavliuk also spoke about plans for a counteroffensive after the situation at the front stabilizes.

Zelenskyy said on April 9 that Ukraine’s next counteroffensive against Russian invasion forces would be more successful than its previous attempt, as the previous one was “sabotaged from within.”

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine