Ukraine counteroffensive will fail as spooks say Kyiv won’t hit key objective

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Ukraine’s counteroffensive will ultimately fail, according to a bleak assessment by the US intelligence community.

Ukrainian forces have made recapturing the southeastern city of Melitopol the key objective in their counteroffensive as they attempt to pierce through the 1,000-kilometer front line.

The seizure of Melitopol near the Sea of Azov would be a major success for Ukraine, which hopes to punch through the land corridor between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula, illegally annexed by Moscow in 2014.

That could split Russian forces into two and cut supply lines to units farther west. Russia currently controls the whole Sea of Azov coast.

However, this objective will fail as the Russian army has set up vast minefields and heavily dug-in trenches to stymie Ukrainian advances.

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That’s the dire assessment made by those familiar with the classified intel.

The insiders told The Washington Post that Ukraine’s forces, which are pushing toward Melitopol from the town of Robotyne more than 50 miles away, will fail to get within touching distance of the occupied city.

The Western and Ukrainian government officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military operations.

Ukrainian troops have made only incremental gains since launching a counteroffensive in early June, and Vladimir Putin has repeatedly claimed Ukraine has suffered heavy losses, without offering evidence.

Ukrainian authorities have kept operational details of the counteroffensive under wraps, and they have released scant information about its progress.

However, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar has signaled that troops are advancing toward the city of Melitopol in the Zaporizhizhia region.

Ukrainian forces have managed to capture a number of villages during their sluggish advance towards the transit hub.

Russia has ramped up its attacks in response, unleashing missiles across Ukraine, killing and wounding civilians and damaging infrastructure.

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The latest barrage came just hours before top Russian military officials and their counterparts from allied countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa gathered outside Moscow for a security conference.

Missiles struck cities from the east to west of Ukraine, including far behind the front lines where Ukraine is fighting deeply entrenched Russian forces to regain territory occupied by Moscow almost 18 months into the war.

Russia has built heavily fortified defenses along the more than 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) front line where Ukraine has only made incremental gains since launching a counteroffensive in early June.

“Deliberate large-scale attacks on civilians. Solely for the sake of killing and psychological pressure,” presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on X, formerly known as Twitter, commenting on the latest Russian attacks.

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