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Zelensky’s Visit Reveals Strategy Divide Between Ukraine and U.S.

President Volodymyr Zelensky stated during his visit to Washington that Ukraine will retake the hotly contested eastern city of Bakhmut from Russia by the end of the year. This prediction highlights the difference between Kyiv and American war planners who think Ukraine should be concentrating more on the south.

In a meeting with American journalists on Thursday, Mr. Zelensky also made the forecast that Ukrainian forces will "de-occupy two more cities" taken by Russia. The cities he meant were not specified.

On the other hand, he projected that because to the significant loss of troops, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin would halt operations. They are no more, Mr. Zelensky declared.

Additionally, Mr. Zelensky reiterated his call for longer-range missiles. The Biden administration, which has given Ukraine billions in aid, has been debating whether to offer some of their small stock of Army Tactical Missile Systems, or ATACMS. According to Mr. Zelensky, Ukraine requires stronger missile capability.

We don't have any other options, he declared. And in contrast to what military specialists in the West had predicted, Mr. Zelensky asserted that Ukraine would continue to battle throughout the winter.

Why Ukraine has put up such a fight in Bakhmut, the site of one of the deadliest battles of the war, has long been the subject of debate among U.S. intelligence and military officials. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III claimed in March that the city had "more symbolic value than strategic and operational value."

However, Mr. Zelensky has made it clear that he intends to try and recapture lost territory, and Ukraine has committed a sizable contingent of men and weapons to retake Bakhmut and defend the neighboring Donbas region.

According to some American Officials, Mr. Zelensky and his military commanders have reportedly gotten rather obsessed with the conflict in Bakhmut. Long after American officials had advised them to move on to other targets because success for either side would be pyrrhic, the Ukrainians' unwavering concentration on the city led them to feel that a potential win was only around the corner.

Mr. Zelensky with Senate leaders on Thursday during his visit. A growing faction of the Republican Party has threatened to hold up aid, a move that Mr. Zelensky said could cost his country the war.Credit...Kenny Holston/The New York Times

However, Mr. Zelensky might be depending on the disarray inside the Wagner mercenary group following the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the group's commander, in an aircraft crash last month. After months of terrible conflict, Wagner forces took Bakhmut. One American official suggested on Friday that Ukrainian troops might have a chance in Bakhmut now that Mr. Prigozhin is no longer there and Wagner's future is uncertain.

Mr. Zelensky, for his part, refuted the idea that Ukraine was not making its plans consciously and asserted that his soldiers were executing a "comprehensive plan." These plans occasionally caused friction between Washington and Kiev.

American military leaders have urged Ukraine to make an effort to recapture Melitopol, which is located in the southern part of the nation. Even while recent efforts have concentrated on it, Ukraine's window of opportunity to overcome Russian defenses is closing. According to American officials, regaining Melitopol would provide Ukraine the opportunity to employ close-range artillery to obliterate Russian supply routes into Crimea and exert pressure on the Russian military foothold there.

According to some American officials, the Ukrainian counteroffensive is unlikely to succeed in its strategic objectives of cutting off or reducing the land bridge connecting Crimea and the Russian border.

The Ukrainian government has been extremely concerned about the massive losses that would result from any attempt to break those barriers because Russia's minefields have shown to be an effective defense.

U.S. officials warned that as the ground gets softer and muddier, it will soon be even harder for Ukrainian forces to maintain a drive forward. According to some officials, the Ukrainian army will require time to rest its personnel who have been worn out by the summer's battle and restock their equipment stockpile within the next few weeks.

However, Mr. Zelensky rejected them, stating that his soldiers would not stop since Russian forces were searching for a respite.

I may not be the best military person in the world, but I am fully aware of Putin's objectives, Mr. Zelensky declared. I am aware that he requires a break. President Biden informed Mr. Zelensky in a meeting on Thursday that the United States would be "staying with you" in the conflict.

However, a rising fraction of the Republican Party swears to withhold aid, a move Mr. Zelensky claimed could cost his nation the war.

He made appearances at the Pentagon, the White House, and Capitol Hill during his second visit to Washington during the war. Zelensky claimed that Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, promised him that the House would continue to "be on our side," but that "it's not simple."

Following his discussions in Washington, Mr. Zelensky moved on to Ottawa, where he Friday informed the Canadian Parliament that Russia was committing genocide in Ukraine.

“It is genocide, what Russian occupiers are doing to Ukraine,” he said. “It is not just about an ordinary conflict. It is about saving the lives of millions of people.”

He also had a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose administration has given Ukraine $1.3 billion in military help and roughly $3.7 billion in financial aid.

Later that day, Mr. Zelensky warned politicians who were unwilling to lend additional support to his nation's war effort, whether they were in the United States or elsewhere.

Shortly after speaking to Parliament, he told reporters, "I believe that you are supporting either Ukraine or Russia." "You're strengthening Russia by weakening Ukraine's support," He said.

while acknowledging its gratitude for all the financial and military support it has received, Mr. Zelensky continued, Ukraine was still paying a "largest price" in the form of "the lives of our people."

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Zelensky’s Visit Reveals Strategy Divide Between Ukraine and U.S.


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