In 2022, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, planned to launch a counteroffensive in the south with the goal of reaching the Crimea borders. However, his strategy faced opposition from American allies, as revealed in a book by Yaroslav Trofimov, the chief correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.
According to Business Insider, the proposed counteroffensive could have potentially reshaped the war, had it been carried out as planned. The plan aimed to penetrate the Zaporizhzhia region and disrupt the land corridor, isolating Russian forces in Crimea before they could establish defensive lines.
Although the proposal was considered daring and risky, it never materialized. Zaluzhnyi and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had discussed the plan with their Western counterparts, but it did not receive full support. Zaluzhnyi only requested 90 additional howitzers and artillery shells from the US at the time, not armored vehicles.
The US expressed concerns about the feasibility of the plan, fearing potential vulnerabilities in the defensive line and the possibility of Russian forces seizing Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro. As a result, Washington advocated for concentrating forces on capturing Kherson, highlighting the lack of trained personnel and equipment within the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Despite Zaluzhnyi’s disagreement with the US assessment, the limited scope for dispute due to the US’s significant control over military aid to Ukraine led to the redirection of the strategy towards Kherson.