Reality is different from public statements, the German journalist who just visited Kiev has said
While the Ukrainian government paints a rosy picture of the conflict at press conferences, senior officials admit in private that the situation is grim, Paul Ronzheimer, a deputy editor-in-chief at the German outlet BILD, said on Friday.
Ronzheimer had just spent three days in Ukraine, meeting with Defense Minister Rustem Umerov and other senior government and military officials, he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
“Their statements match less and less the picture that is officially painted in press conferences and interviews, most recently by [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky,” he wrote.
Those who spoke to him in private identified “very clearly” several major problems for Kiev and at this time “see little chance for Ukrainian offensive efforts,” Ronzheimer wrote.
Tempering his criticism with the claim that Russia has lost “tens of thousands of soldiers and many tanks,” the German journalist noted that everyone he spoke with said that time was on Moscow’s side and that “stories from the front are almost unbearable.”
Ukrainian officials should say these things in public because “nothing else will help,” said Ronzheimer, while arguing that Europe and especially Germany will have to do more in 2024, not less.
The German journalist’s revelations match the tone of several Ukrainian MPs who spoke to The Times of London. In an article published on Friday, Roman Kostenko – a member of the Verkhovna Rada’s committee for national security, defense and intelligence – said a victory on the battlefield was “extremely unlikely” and expressed doubt that any Western weapons could turn the tide.
Another MP, Svyatoslav Yurash, described the fighting as “painful” and said the Ukrainians should “hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” The only thing to hope for right now was for the Russians to rebel and topple their government, he added.
Kiev launched a major offensive in early June, aiming to reach Crimea within 60 to 90 days but failing to advance past the first Russian defense lines. Russian troops have since taken the initiative and are moving forward on almost every section of the frontline.
Earlier this week, the Russian Defense Ministry made public its estimate that Ukraine has lost almost 400,000 troops since the hostilities escalated in February 2022, including those killed, wounded, captured or listed as missing. A prominent German military analyst has estimated Kiev’s losses at 800 troops a day.
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