As Ukraine Launches Counteroffensive, Definitions of Success Vary
Privately, U.S. and European officials concede that pushing all of Russias forces out of occupied Ukrainian land is highly unlikely.
After months of anticipation, Ukraines forces newly trained on complex warfare tactics and armed with billions of dollars in sophisticated Western weaponry launched operations on multiple fronts in the past week in an effort to dislodge entrenched Russian military units, a counteroffensive that many officials in the United States and Europe say could be a turning point in the 15-month war.
Much rides on the outcome. There is little doubt the new military drive will influence discussions of future support for Ukraine as well as debates about how to guarantee its future. What remains unclear, though, is exactly what the United States, Europe and Ukraine view as a successful counteroffensive.
Publicly, American and European officials are leaving any definition of success to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. For now, Mr. Zelensky has not laid out any public goals, beyond his oft-stated demand that Russian troops must leave the whole of Ukraine. He is known as a master communicator; any perception that he is backing off that broad ambition would risk undermining his support at a critical moment.