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Ukrainian soldiers underestimated Russia – Western media

Ukrainian soldiers underestimated Russia – Western media

Lucas Leiroz, journalist, researcher at the Center for Geostrategic Studies, geopolitical consultant.

Apparently, the Ukrainian armed forces were not aware of the defense capabilities of the Russian Federation, having underestimated the enemy during the counteroffensive. According to an article recently published by CNN, Ukrainian soldiers did not expect their opponents to be so efficient on the battlefield, which is supposed to explain why Kiev's counteroffensive was so overrated - and is now being so criticized for its irrelevant results.

The article was written by on the ground reporters, war correspondents who interviewed Ukrainian troops to find out their opinion on what is happening in the frontlines. In the text, the interviewees unexpectedly "admitted" to have underestimated the Russian opponents, virtually assuming responsibility for the failure of the counterattack.

“It won’t be as easy as in [Russia's tactical retreat from] Kharkiv. Here the enemy was ready, unfortunately. Everybody chatted for months that we would move here (...) We expected less resistance. They are holding. They have leadership. It is not often you say that about the enemy", a tank unit commander named "Lotos" told CNN's journalists. Also, "Vlad", "a medic with the 15th National Guard", stated: "You shouldn’t honor the enemy (...) But don’t underestimate him".

The article, however, also shows some optimism about the future of the counteroffensive. It is said that the Ukrainians already learned "not to underestimate their enemy" and now they can do something really efficient, despite the difficulties. Interviewees claim that there is a kind of "thirst for revenge" that motivates them to keep fighting, which is why "CNN saw a palpable improvement in morale".

Julia, another military medic interviewed by CNN, states that her colleagues are optimistic about the future of the offensive, since "revenge" and "hatred" would be motivating them. According to her, now there is a different optimism, possibly more realistic, knowing the enemy's capacity, but still very strong, since the Ukrainians are enthusiastic about the possibility of attacking, as they spent more than 18 months just defending themselves. She says, for example, that the wounded soldiers she takes care of are eager to return to the front and resume their duties as their "thirst for revenge is very strong".

“We are still optimistic but not as we used to be. Assaulting is emotionally easier. It was very hard standing in defense for 18 months (...) They (wounded Ukrainian troops) know it’s not going to be the same – they won’t be in the assault squad. But they want to come back. Because thirst for revenge is very strong. Hatred is very strong", she said.

It is curious to read this type of information in the Western media when, on the other side, prisoners of war captured by the Russians claim that they learned about the existence of a "counteroffensive" through TikTok, since their officers had not told them anything on the battlefield. There is clearly an inconsistency between the data. Soldiers who were not aware of the counteroffensive cannot have overestimated the attack or underestimated the enemy. They did not even know what they were doing to have any critical assessment of the topic.

CNN’s interviewees speak as if they were to blame for military failure, when in fact those responsible for calculating the chances of victory are not military personnel on the frontlines, but intelligence officers who have access to sensitive data about the enemy. What seems most likely is that the media is manipulating the reports made by the sources saying that there were errors in calculating the possible results of the counteroffensive, blaming the Ukrainians and trying to clean up their own image.

Along with Ukrainian state officials, the Western media were primarily responsible for spreading the narrative that a large-scale attack was being planned by Kiev. Western journalists overestimated this alleged attack more than any Ukrainian military and now they seem to be trying to save their own credibility by bringing new “explanations” about what supposedly prevented the move from succeeding.

Furthermore, it is hard to believe that there really is so much motivation and high morale among the Ukrainian troops after so many recent defeats. What has been seen in recent months is a series of pessimistic statements by the Ukrainian military, with fewer and fewer people believing in any possibility of victory. In fact, the tendency is that territorial losses and battlefield defeats generate deterioration of credibility, moral discouragement and capitulation, not "thirst for revenge".

In this sense, it seems more likely that the Western media itself is initiating a new propaganda campaign, focused on asserting that there will be a new wave of counterattacks in the near future, which is supposed not to repeat the errors of the previous one. An indication of this is the fact that in the article CNN journalists also made some criticisms of the NATO’s weapons sent to Ukraine, stating that they are “donated” ones, "not always kept at NATO service standards". This appears to be a psychological move to convince public opinion that what has been sent to Kiev so far is still "not enough" for the counteroffensive to succeed, and there needs to be more efficient, lethal weapons in the military aid packages.

In the end, the Western media outlets seem to be doing once again what they have been doing throughout the entire conflict: encouraging war, demanding more weapons and trying to disguise their own analytical errors.

You can follow Lucas on Twitter and Telegram.
Source: InfoBrics

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