The head of the British Defense Ministry said that Ukraine could occupy Crimea by the end of the year

Ukraine has a real opportunity to retake Crimea by the end of the year, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in an interview with The Washington Post.

“We’ve already seen on the battlefield that if you strike Russian troops in the wrong place, they will actually fail. You can send tens of thousands of young men to their deaths, which they do, but you can’t cobble together the tanks and weapons systems they need”, – he said.

In recent months, Western officials have begun to doubt Ukraine’s ability to mount a successful counteroffensive. For example, in April, the head of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, said that Kyiv is unlikely to be able to retake the territories seized by Russian troops this year. U.S. intelligence also gave a skeptical forecast for the upcoming offensive, according to leaked files from the Pentagon.

Even Ukrainian authorities spoke of inflated expectations of the planned counteroffensive.

“Expectations of our counteroffensive campaign are overestimated in the world. Most people expect something grandiose”, – Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told The Washington Post. Expectations can lead to “emotional disappointment,” he said.

The announced counterattack by the AFU did not take place in the spring as planned. CNN reported that Ukraine had to change its military plans after a massive leak from the Pentagon. Bloomberg also wrote that a large-scale offensive could have been postponed until 2024. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky explained that the offensive was delayed because the Ukrainian Armed Forces needed more time and additional military aid from the West.

The day before, Zelensky said that he had approved a timeline for the start of the counteroffensive. He did not disclose the exact dates, but noted that “there are answers regarding the dates”.

The Crimean isthmus could be the target of a counterattack, their capture would allow the AFU to begin preparations to liberate the peninsula, Meduza wrote in a breakdown of possible scenarios for a Ukrainian attack. However, for an offensive in this direction, the Ukrainian Armed Forces will have to force the Dnieper River, which is about a kilometer wide there.

The pro-Russian head of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, urged not to underestimate Ukraine’s capabilities. Nevertheless, he said that Crimea was not threatened by anything.

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