- President Volodymyr Zelensky told the Wall Street Journal that Ukraine was ready for its counterattack.
- But he warned that Russian air superiority would lead to heavy casualties among Ukrainian soldiers.
- Zelensky said he would like to wait for more support from allies, but did not want to wait “months”.
The long-awaited Ukrainian counterattack may be imminent.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the Wall Street Journal that his country is ready to start reclaiming territory from the Russians. “We strongly believe we will succeed,” he told the newspaper.
Zelensky, who has been pressing for his allies to supply Ukraine with more weapons – including fighter jets – said he was not willing to wait any longer. Then he warned that Russian air superiority would mean heavy losses for the Ukrainian forces.
He told the Wall Street Journal that he expected “a large number of soldiers to die.”
Russia invaded Ukraine for the first time in February 2022. It soon seized large swathes of the country’s eastern lands. But his progress stalled last year. Russian forces soon bogged down in their efforts to capture the key eastern city of Bakhmut. Ukraine has made it clear that it is trying to take over the city and dedicate resources to it. Ukraine’s bet appears to be paying off.
The Russian army is much superior to the Ukrainian army. But much of Russia’s military equipment is outdated, and soldiers have complained of a lack of equipment. Russia used decades-old tanks, and soldiers said they relied on Soviet-era equipment.
As setbacks pile up for Russia at Bakhmut, the Wagner Group, a notorious Russian mercenary organization, enters the fray. She recruited thousands of Russian prisoners, who exchanged their freedom to fight on the fronts. Wagner’s arrival in Bakhmut raised tensions between the various factions of the Russian forces.
In this context, Ukraine, which has been recovering weapons from its allies for months, will launch its long-awaited counter-offensive.
Zelensky said the Ukrainian forces were “stronger and more motivated” than the Russians.
“There is no room for weakness,” he told the newspaper.
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