CIA knows Ukraine’s counteroffensive will fail – Seymour Hersh
President Zelensky’s optimism was all “bulls**t” designed to fool the White House, an intelligence official told Hersh.
The CIA warned US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive against Russian forces would fail, and that Kiev “will not win the war,” American journalist Seymour Hersh reported on Thursday.
Blinken “has figured out that the United States – that is, our ally Ukraine – will not win the war” against Russia, Hersh wrote on his Substack blog, quoting an anonymous US intelligence official.
“The word was getting to him through the Agency [CIA] that the Ukrainian offense was not going to work,” Hersh’s source continued, without specifying when these warnings began to surface.
“It was a show by [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky and there were some in the administration who believed his bulls**t.”
The Ukrainian counteroffensive began in early June, with Kiev deploying its best Western-equipped and trained brigades in an attempt to sever Russia’s land bridge linking the Donbass with Crimea in the southern province of Zaporozhye. The operation has been a failure by most accounts, and according to the latest figures from the Russian Defense Ministry, has cost Ukraine more than 43,000 troops and nearly 5,000 pieces of heavy equipment in exchange for a handful of villages.
Hersh’s source claimed that the CIA’s sober assessment of Ukraine’s chances led Blinken to consider brokering a peace deal to end the conflict, “as Kissinger did in Paris to end the Vietnam War.” Despite knowing that Ukraine’s prospects were grim, CIA Director William Burns reportedly took this opportunity to approach the White House and offer support for President Joe Biden’s policy of indefinite military aid for Kiev, with the aim of securing a higher position in the Biden administration.
Whatever backroom maneuvering may have taken place, Blinken has never publicly endorsed a Kiev-Moscow peace deal, and declared in June that a ceasefire would lead to a “Potemkin peace” favoring Russia.
Hersh is not the first reporter to claim that high-level American officials knew Ukraine’s counteroffensive would not succeed. Military leaders in the US and other NATO states knew that the operation would be doomed to failure as long as Ukraine did not have a means of countering Russian air superiority, the Wall Street Journal reported last month. Nevertheless, Kiev’s Western backers allowed the offensive to begin regardless, reportedly hoping that “Ukrainian courage and resourcefulness would carry the day.”
Throughout the past two months, Zelensky has repeatedly blamed his military’s lack of success on the West, claiming that he was not given adequate weapons – particularly fighter jets and long-range missiles – to penetrate Russian lines. Ukrainian leadership is now split on whether to continue the operation or wait and try again in spring, Newsweek reported on Wednesday. According to the American magazine, Zelensky must now decide “whether to go all-in and risk a costly failure, or to cut Ukraine’s losses and accept a politically damaging defeat.”