Ukraine has been taking heavy casualties 10 weeks into its counteroffensive against Russian forces, with reports of mounting evidence coming from various sources. ABC News spoke to two former U.S. soldiers contracted with the Ukrainian military who were injured during an operation near Donetsk, and a Western soldier criticized the offensive for being disorganized. Despite the criticism and heavy casualties, the two Americans believe the Ukrainian counteroffensive is going well, though a senior Ukrainian official described the situation as “really tough” and stressed the urgent need for more military aid from the United States and its partners.
- Heavy Casualties: Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian positions has led to significant casualties, with one unit reporting 85% casualties during a mission. There’s disagreement among troops about the organization and effectiveness of the counteroffensive.
- Use of Western Military Equipment: There is criticism that western military equipment, such as U.S.-supplied Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, is not being used to its full potential. Some say Ukrainian soldiers lack the necessary training, while others disagree.
- Need for More Support: A senior Ukrainian official has called for more military support from the U.S., including long-range missiles. The official argued that supplying more support would be a cost-effective way of holding Russia back and guaranteeing security in Europe, but the Biden Administration has so far refused to supply the requested long-range missiles.
- Varied Opinions on Progress: Despite the heavy casualties, some soldiers, including the two injured Americans interviewed, believe that the Ukrainian counteroffensive is progressing well. Others have raised concerns about disorganization and lack of training for complicated operations on the battlefield.
- Situation on the Battlefield: The war is described as being in a “decisive phase” with “very intensive fighting on the battlefield.” Eighty percent of the casualties are reportedly caused by Russian artillery, and Ukraine has not published casualty figures since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February of the previous year.