Sluggish counter-offensive: more weapons for Ukraine?

The counter-offensive launched by Ukraine on June 4 in its defensive war against Russia seems to be faltering, with the country failing to make significant territorial gains so far. European countries are discussing further weapons deliveries, including the German Taurus cruise missiles with a range of more than 500 kilometres that Kyiv has requested. A sense of impatience predominates in the commentaries.

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Český rozhlas (CZ) /

The West is too hesitant

According to public radio station Český rozhlas the West is mainly to blame for the Ukrainian army's slow progress:

“Although it was already clear in September 2022 that Ukraine could not get by without the aid of Western tanks, the corresponding resolution was only passed in January of this year, and only partially implemented. As far as modern combat aircraft are concerned, everything is still in the fledgling stages. ... And we've seen the consequences of the West's rather lax behaviour since the spring: Ukraine was only able to launch its counter-offensive in June and has come up against huge minefields and the Russians' well-organised defence.”

Visão (PT) /

Supply weapons to reduce the death toll

Visão calls on Ukraine's allies to provide more weapons immediately:

“The Ukrainians must put all they have learned and received in recent months into the battle to reach the Sea of Azov. ... There is a clear Ukrainian advance towards the Sea of Azov, there is a growing number of desertions and soldiers fleeing on the Russian side, and the special forces are already operating very close to the main military targets in the south, such as the city of Melitopol. But if they are to stop being slow and bloody, all these efforts require a bigger arsenal. For Ukraine there is only victory, and only victory should be on the table of the allies.”

Ukrajinska Prawda (UA) /

Taurus a game changer

Taurus cruise missiles would play a key role for Ukraine, especially with regard to Crimea, writes Krystyna Bondareva of Ukrainska Pravda:

“The Taurus missiles are said to be crucial for the liberation of Ukrainian territories, including Crimea. Because of their range, these missiles can cover the entire peninsula. With the Taurus missiles Russian troops in Crimea would be cut off from Russian supply lines and Russia would be forced to abandon Crimea, according to Roderich Kiesewetter, a foreign policy expert for Germany's opposition CDU party. Russia's increasingly frequent attacks on Ukrainian air bases show that the Russian military leadership is taking the threat of Western long-range cruise missiles seriously.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Unforeseeable consequences

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Defence Minister Boris Pistorius have reservations about sending Taurus missiles for good reason, says the Süddeutsche Zeitung:

“The difference from the German systems Ukraine has received so far: with Taurus it would be even easier for it to attack targets deep in Russian territory. For example the airports from which Russia launches its air strikes, battle bunkers or the depots with which Putin's army keeps its war going. Even if Ukraine were to use this weapon only in its defence, the war would be extended geographically, with consequences that are difficult to foresee. ... A brief reality check is more than in order.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Hunger as the strongest weapon

Grain is a key element in determining how the war progresses, observes La Repubblica:

“The blockade of the sea corridor in the Black Sea ordered by Moscow on 17 July has brought grain supplies back into focus as prices rise once more and general supply problems increase. With this approach, Putin has to some degree accelerated the talks for a ceasefire. The current attempts at mediation highlight the urgency of resuming agricultural exports: from the Saudis to the African Union, from the Emirates to the Chinese, everyone is presenting the grain issue as a key element for ending the hostilities.”

Dnevnik (BG) /

A bit of a flop

Ukraine is making painfully slow progress, writes Dnevnik:

“According to deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar, Ukraine has recaptured only 241 square kilometres in the south and south-east in the two months since the counteroffensive began. ... Russia continues to occupy one-fifth of the country. ... The spring offensive has become the summer offensive. Soon it will be continued as the autumn offensive. The Russians keep calling it a 'failure', and if you look at the map, you have to agree.”

Echo (RU) /

Sinking in their own swamp

In a Telegram post republished by Echo, political scientist Vladimir Pastukhov gives the Kremlin no chance of victory:

“The unexpected tenacity of the Ukrainians, who have demonstrated their uncompromising willingness to fight Russia like the Afghan mujahideen once did, has exposed weaknesses of Putin's 'new empire' that had not been apparent before. ... For Russia, a war which started as a refreshing shower has turned into an endless tropical rain that turns meadows into swamps. And now they can't get their boots out of them. What's more, the willingness of the Ukrainians (not only of Zelensky and his office) to fight will determine the direction of history more than the West's desire to stop the war at some point.”

Karar (TR) /

Black Sea no longer safe

Karar observes with concern that the war has come so close to Turkey:

“The fact that the mood on the Black Sea is heating up and it is increasingly becoming the subject of fierce conflicts worries the whole world and, of course, above all the states that border on it, in particular Turkey. ... It is quite possible that the attacks on the ports of the two countries will not stop there. Ukraine's decision to make the Russian city of Novorossiysk as an unsafe port could hit the international oil trade hard. Events in the Black Sea need to be monitored more closely.”

Diena (LV) /

Danger of waning enthusiasm among supporters

Diena looks worriedly to the US, where according to a recent CNN survey more than half of the population is against sending more aid to Ukraine:

“Even for Ukraine's most ardent supporters, it will be hard not to react to the mood among the voters in the run-up to the US presidential election. But unfortunately this reaction also weakens the desire of other Western countries to continue supporting Ukraine, all the more so because similar trends can be observed there as well. If there is one thing that is not being taken into account, it's the fact that a ceasefire would certainly not put an end to Russian aggression but at best only temporarily freeze the conflict.”

LRT (LT) /

People in the West still stand by Ukraine

Commenting on LRT, political scientist Linas Kojala sees no signs of support for Ukraine weakening in the West:

“The fears about the West growing weary which the Kremlin leadership had so heavily counted on have not been confirmed up to now. True, support for Ukraine is stagnating - it could be faster and more comprehensive. But the decision-makers are not under pressure from the electorate to fundamentally change course. ... For now, we should be glad that the unity of the West has withstood the challenges. The most important prerequisite for this is the self-sacrificing struggle of Ukrainians in defence of their country and Europe as a whole.”