Financial TimesFinancial Times

The hard lessons from Ukraine’s summer offensive

By Christopher Miller, Ben Hall, Steven Bernard

15 Sep 2023 · 10 min read

“Yes, people tend to want [results] immediately. This is understandable,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told a conference in Kyiv last weekend, speaking about Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive. “But this is not like a feature movie, where everything happens in an hour and a half.”

The idea that Ukrainian forces, lacking any air cover, would storm through Russian lines was always going to be more of a Hollywood plotline than reality. But three months into the counteroffensive, Zelenskyy and his government are dealing with the reality that it has not achieved the desired decisive breakthrough — and are girding themselves for a drawn-out war.

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