Did NATO fail to properly train the Ukrainian counter-attack units? Did it train them for the wrong battles?
These questions are at the core of a new debate aimed at assigning responsibility for the failure of the Ukrainian counter-offensive which, after three months of fighting in southeastern Ukraine, has failed to reach the Sea of Azov.
By reaching the sea in question, the Ukrainian army would be able to cut through a land bridge connecting Russian Crimea with areas in southern Ukraine that the Russian army has occupied for the last year and a half.
During this period, new complaints have emerged from the front line of the fighting, as more and more Ukrainian soldiers have expressed their disappointment with the training provided by NATO in Europe in recent months.
Of course, a few weeks ago the Ukrainian military leadership had come under its own criticism, after Western military officials had accused Ukrainian forces of not following the war tactics taught to them by NATO instructors earlier in the year.
In particular, NATO accused Ukraine of dividing the Ukrainian army's Western-equipped and trained brigades into smaller units, consisting of just 10 to 30 soldiers. These small Ukrainian groups are used to attack Russian positions.
But now it seems that the Kiev soldiers are retaliating with unprecedented accusations against the North Atlantic alliance itself, essentially saying that NATO prepared them for the wrong type of war.
They explain that the training they received from Western instructors focused on various skills, but does not correspond to the realistic conditions of an armed conflict such as the one in Ukraine. According to Ukrainian soldiers there is a clear gap between theory and practice, a gap that has cost many thousands of soldiers' lives in Kiev.
Western experts believe that the Ukrainian soldiers are partly right, since the training provided by NATO consisted of tactics used by the alliance itself in armed conflicts around the world in recent years, but these conflicts have nothing to do with the terrible Russo-Ukrainian war.
For example, NATO soldiers have not adapted to drone warfare, one of the most critical branches of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. As a result, all indications are that Zelensky's soldiers were indeed thrown into battle without any real preparation in some vital areas of modern warfare.