WP: US intelligence claims Ukraine will fail to regain control of Melitopol and sever land bridge between Russia and Crimea this year

WP: US intelligence claims Ukraine will fail to regain control of Melitopol and sever land bridge between Russia and Crimea this year

Ukraine's army will not be able to regain control of Melitopol, a vital Russian transit hub, this year due to minefields.

This was reported by The Washington Post, citing its own sources who are familiar with a secret US intelligence forecast.

Russia, according to intelligence, has prepared well for the defence of the occupied territories, in particular by mining fields, trenches and trenches.

Rob Lee, a military analyst at the Institute for Foreign Policy Studies, believes that the path to Melitopol is "extremely difficult" and that even closer towns like Tokmak will be difficult to recapture. Russia has erected three lines of defence, with fortified towns behind them.

"It’s not just a question about whether Ukraine can breach one or two of them (defence lines- ed.), but can they breach all three and have enough forces available after taking attrition to achieve something more significant like taking Tokmak or something beyond that."

US officials said the Pentagon had repeatedly advised Ukraine to focus on one breakthrough point, but it chose a different strategy.

In June, having suffered significant losses after launching a counter-offensive, the Ukrainian army switched to the tactic of moving forward with small units in different parts of the front.

This made it possible to advance on various fronts, but did not allow them to break through the main line of Russian defence, as Western countries had hoped after the Ukrainian counter-offensive.

U.S. officials reject criticisms that F-16 fighter jets or longer-range missile systems such as ATACMS would have resulted in a different outcome. 

“The problem remains piercing Russia’s main defensive line, and there’s no evidence these systems would’ve been a panacea,” a senior administration official said.

In the interview with AFP Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba jokingly called on all critics of the slow counteroffensive to join the Foreign Legion. He said that Ukraine would not stop its fight until it regains all its territories.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan commented on these statements during a briefing.

"Over the past two years, there have been many analyses from various sources of how this war will unfold.  And we've seen numerous changes in those analyses over time as the dynamic conditions on the battlefield have changed," Sullivan said.

He added that he is confident in "the capability and especially the bravery of the Ukrainian soldiers to continue to succeed on the battlefield".

Photo: Sasha Maslov / Institute for the Study of War | The Washington Post