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Ukraine’s defense minister is worried the West will get cold feet if Kyiv’s much-expected counterattack is a flop

A Ukrainian tank firing during practice on the frontline of Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine in late March 2023.Ukraine’s long-anticipated counteroffensive may not be as big as Kyiv leaders once advertised.

Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

  • Ukraine is trying to couch expectations for its long-awaited counteroffensive against Russia. 
  • Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told The Washington Post he fears the attack is being “overestimated.”
  • Reznikov worries if the attack isn’t successful, Ukraine will lose support from its Western allies.

Ukraine is worried Western allies will stop sending weapons and aid if Kyiv’s anticipated counteroffensive against Russian troops turns out to be a dud — and its defense minister is backpedaling after hyping up the attack.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told The Washington Post that while Ukraine is eager to launch a strong attack after months of attrition warfare in the country’s east, officials are concerned that the counteroffensive has been “overestimated” by world leaders. 

If people are hoping for “something huge,” the actual results of the attack could lead to “emotional disappointment,” Reznikov told the Post.

Reznikov’s cautious messaging comes just days after he boasted that Ukraine was ready to launch its attack and that Western-supplied weapons would serve as an “iron fist” in the counter-offensive.

Part of the pressure, Reznikov now says, comes from Ukraine’s surprise success last year. It took advantage of Russia’s miscalculations and missteps, preventing an invasion of Kyiv early in the war. Kyiv also launched two major counteroffensives, retaking Kharkiv and forcing a Russian retreat in Kherson. 

“We inspired everywhere because the perception was that we will fall during 72 hours,” Reznikov said, according to the Post. But the track record means Ukraine’s partners now have a “joint expectation that it would be successful again,” he added.

Reznikov said allies have told him they now need a “next example of a success because we need to show it to our people.” 

Read the original article on Business Insider