Day 262: White House Hails 'Extraordinary Victory' for Ukraine in Kherson

After Ukrainian troops were seen entering the city of Kherson to the jubilation of local residents on Friday, White House officials hailed the advance. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said it "looks as though the Ukrainians have just won an extraordinary victory,

Day 262: White House Hails 'Extraordinary Victory' for Ukraine in Kherson
Image credit: AP Photos [via AP News]

Facts

  • After Ukrainian troops were seen entering the city of Kherson to the jubilation of local residents on Friday, White House officials hailed the advance. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said it "looks as though the Ukrainians have just won an extraordinary victory, where the one regional capital that Russia had seized in this war is now back under a Ukrainian flag."
  • However, Sullivan dismissed calls for Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy to enter into peace talks with the Kremlin, describing Ukraine as "the party of peace" while calling Russia "the party of war." He said Russia could end the war by simply withdrawing from Ukraine.
  • The comments seemed to underline a rift that has grown between the White House and the US military after America's top general, Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for Ukraine's gains to be leveraged at the negotiating table. "When there’s an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved, seize it. Seize the moment," Milley said at the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday.
  • In the meantime, while Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed that all of Kherson region remains part of the Russian Federation on Friday, Russian-appointed officials in the Russian-controlled parts of the region said on Saturday that Kherson's regional capital was temporarily relocated to Henichesck, a port city near Crimea.
  • Meanwhile, on Saturday, Russian attacks were recorded in the regions of Kharkiv, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia, and Dnipropetrovsk. Three civilians were injured in Kharkiv, while two more were injured in Dnipropetrovsk. Two civilians were killed and four more injured in Donetsk — still the stage of heavy fighting, according to Ukrainian officials.

Sources: Yahoo, CNN, Tass, and Ukrinform.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Vox. Ukraine is demonstrating that, with continued Western military aid, it's able to drive Russian forces out of its territories. This bolsters the argument that support needs to be maintained until a total Russian defeat is achieved.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Newsweek. Retaking parts of Kherson is one thing; recapturing the rest of the region alongside Luhansk, Donetsk, and Crimea is another. Ukraine's gains should be used to leverage Kyiv's negotiating position to bring a swift end to this conflict — it should not be treated as a justification to drag out the war.

Predictions