On The Failure Of The Ukrainian Counterattack"
Moon of Alabama (June 16, 2023)

On June 4/5 the Ukrainian military launched its long announced counteroffensive in southeast Ukraine. Ten days later there is no significant progress.

This is not the outcome the war propagandists expected:

Back in reality the lead elements of the Ukrainian attack got slaughtered. They 'culminated', i.e. lost their ability for further attacks, in less than a day:

Whoever trained those units made grave mistakes:

The AMX-10 isn't a tank and can not be used as one. It is a wheeled light reconnaissance vehicle built by France 50 years ago to dominate insurgents in its former African colonies. One of its main features is to have a good speed when in reverse gear. This to bail out as soon as serious counter forces are detected.

The Ukrainian counterattack is now stuck in the Russian defense security zone, miles away from the real defense lines. This was predictable.

As the U.S. Field Manual 100-2-1 described the Soviet army in defense (pg 93ff):

The Ukrainian army used at least four brigades for its attack. At least two of those were from the 12 brigade reserve that had been built up for the counterattack. With losses of some 30% those involved were seriously mauled for little to no gain:

The Ukrainian forces were obviously not trained for this. They also attacked in too many places. The map at the top shows attack arrows in 7 places and four main directions. One or two attack directions, with more concentrated forces, might have created better results.

The Russian President Putin recently described the Ukrainian casualties:

Since the start of the counterattack the Russian daily report has listed a total of some 10,500 Ukrainian casualties.

A second large attempt to cross the Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA) with the remaining Ukrainian forces is expected, but is unlikely to have a better outcome. The long promoted Ukrainian counterattack is likely to end with high Ukrainian losses and no gains.

This then will soon become a huge political problem:

As he heads into next year’s reelection campaign, Biden needs a major battlefield victory to show that his unqualified support for Ukraine has burnished U.S. global leadership, reinvigorated a strong foreign policy with bipartisan support and demonstrated the prudent use of American military strength abroad.
A muddled outcome of limited gains in Ukraine would provide grist for all of those critiques and further cloud the already murky waters of NATO and European Union debate over future posture toward both Ukraine and Russia. A less than “overwhelming” success would probably also increase pressure in the West to push Kyiv to negotiate a territorial settlement that may not be to its liking.

There is little the Biden administration can do to change the grim picture. Congress will likely prevent it from openly using the U.S. military in Ukraine. The European NATO allies have now seen what the Russian army can do to its enemies. They will not be eager to see the same done to their own troops.

That leaves negotiations as the only way out.

The question for Russia is when and with whom. Talks with only Ukraine, a mere U.S. proxy with no real say, would be insufficient. It is the U.S. government that must agree to a new security architecture in Europe. The Russian conditions for peace will be harsh and it will still take a lot of time, and many dead Ukrainians, until the U.S. agrees to them [emphasis added].