All last winter and into the spring, media and military analysts talked about the Russian offensive in Donbas and the upcoming Ukrainian counteroffensive. But military and political leaders say all of this talk is nothing more than reading tea leaves. According to the secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, at most five people know where and when the Ukrainian counteroffensive will begin.
In early February, top Ukrainian military and political leaders held closed-door briefings for G7 diplomats. At the time, the counteroffensive was planned for April or May. But in early April, secret Pentagon documents were leaked to the public on gaming servers.
The head of Ukraine's Main Intelligence Directorate, Kyrylo Budanov, believes that this was a Kremlin information operation to strike at relations between Ukraine and the U.S., while other Ukrainian military officials believe that the U.S. will benefit the most from it: both Kyiv and Moscow discovered that Washington has a wide range of data on their forces.
Still, the Ukrainian military says the U.S. leak hasn't disrupted planning. "This data leak will not affect the counteroffensive in any way. There is no word about our real plans," says a senior Ukrainian security official. "We have plans, the General Staff has approved them, and we are moving slowly. The next couple of months will be difficult."
The forecast for when the counteroffensive will start has already shifted to May or June. But the reason for these changes is not the leaked documents, but spring rain and flooding, which complicates military logistics and the movement of heavy equipment, as well as delayed weapons shipments from Ukraine's allies.
"The world loves winners. Understand that if we show success and the ability to win during the counteroffensive, this will be key to our partners' willingness to continue to help us. Without victories, it won't be easy to maintain support. Therefore, we need to win," explains one politician in the Presidential Administration.
The success of the military operations will determine the further course of events in many areas: from the very existence of Ukraine within its borders and its place in the geopolitical game, to purely domestic political developments. [...]
— Read the full Ukrainska Pravda article by Yevhen Buderatskyi, Olha Kyrylenko, Roman Romaniuk and Roman Kravets, translated into English by Worldcrunch.