NATO commander says West was extremely optimistic about Ukraine in 2023


(MENAFN) In a candid admission, Admiral Rob Bauer, the chair of the NATO Military Committee, revealed that the West significantly overestimated Ukraine's chances of making battlefield progress against Russia in 2023. Speaking to the Financial Times, Bauer acknowledged the Western powers' "overly optimistic" outlook, particularly in light of Kiev's unsuccessful counteroffensive and the recent loss of the strategically important city of Avdeevka.

The interview, published on Monday, sheds light on the misplaced optimism surrounding Kiev's ambitious plans to breach Russian defenses and reach the Crimean Peninsula. Admiral Bauer, who led the Dutch armed forces from 2017 to 2021, disclosed that the prevailing belief was that providing Ukraine with ammunition and training would ensure their victory.

Despite the setbacks, Bauer cautioned against being "overly pessimistic in 2024" and emphasized that Ukraine remains a sovereign nation. His remarks followed the Munich Security Conference last week, which centered largely around Ukraine's military challenges. The Financial Times reported a notable shift in sentiment from the previous year, noting that the optimism of 2023 had transformed into "unremitting gloom." This shift was exacerbated by the realization that Ukraine urgently requires significant ammunition shipments, a demand that the West is struggling to meet.

Reports from the Munich Security Conference highlighted a sense of urgency among officials, who argued that Ukraine could lose the conflict unless the United States approves an additional USD60 billion in aid. However, progress on this measure has been stymied in Congress for months, with Republicans demanding stricter security measures on the southern United States border as a condition for approval.

As the dynamics of the conflict continue to evolve, Bauer's admission underscores the challenges faced by the West in accurately assessing and supporting Ukraine's military endeavors. The situation prompts a reassessment of strategies and a recognition of the complex geopolitical landscape surrounding the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe.

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