CNN: Early stages of Ukrainian counteroffensive not meeting expectations

In its early phases, Ukraine’s counteroffensive is having less success and Russian forces are showing more competence than western assessments expected, two western officials and a senior US military official tell CNN. The counteroffensive is “not meeting expectations on any front,” one of the officials said.

According to the Western assessments, Russian lines of defense have been proving well-fortified, making it difficult for Ukrainian forces to breach them. In addition, Russian forces have had success bogging down Ukrainian armor with missile attacks and mines and have been deploying air power more effectively.

Ukrainian forces are proving “vulnerable” to minefields and Russian forces “competent” in their defense, one of the Western officials said.

The US and its allies are likely to wait until at least July for a fuller assessment of the progress of the counteroffensive which was gradually launched over the last few weeks and is seen as crucial to determining who ultimately wins the war which was launched when Russia invaded last year.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted that progress had been “slower than desired.”

Several officials told CNN that adverse weather (?) was proving an issue for Ukrainian forces. “The weather has been playing havoc with the offensive schedule as vehicles have struggled with trafficability. Ukrainian casualties are heavy,” one of the officials said.

“This is a very difficult fight, it is a very violent fight and it will likely take a considerable amount of time and at high cost,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said.