Opinion | Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Is Stalled, but Not at Sea

Nov. 21, 2023 12:46 pm ET

Ukraine’s 2023 counteroffensive has disappointed many in the West who were hoping for breakthroughs like last year’s liberation of Kharkiv and Kherson. But critics are looking by land when they should also be looking by sea. Ukraine’s maritime wins, which include piercing Russia’s Black Sea blockade and forcing the Russian navy into retreat, are a lesson in restoring deterrence.

Since August, more than 130 vessels have sailed from Ukrainian ports and exported more than five million tons of goods, Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure told me this week. They sail in defiance of Vladimir Putin’s efforts to hold the global food supply hostage. In July Russia walked away from the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Yet Ukraine broke the blockade and re-established a grain corridor without a naval escort from the United Nations or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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