Kiev: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that his country needs more time to launch a counter-offensive against Russia as his war-torn nation’s military awaits the delivery of promised military aid.
Speaking to the BBC from his headquarters in Kiev, Zelensky described combat brigades, some of which were trained by NATO countries, as being “ready” but said the army still needed “some things”, including armoured vehicles that were “arriving in batches”.
“With (what we already have) we can go forward, and, I think, be successful,” he told the BBC.
“But we’d lose a lot of people. I think that’s unacceptable. So we need to wait. We still need a bit more time.”
The much-anticipated counter-offensive could be decisive in the ongoig war, redrawing frontlines that have remained unchanged for months now.
It will also be a crucial test for Ukraine, eager to prove that the weapons and equipment it has received from the West can result in significant battlefield gains, says the BBC.
Russian forces, meanwhile, have fortified their defences along a frontline that runs for 1,450 km from the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, to Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in the south.
The President, however, expressed confidence that the Ukrainian military could advance, warning of the risks of a “frozen conflict” which, he said, was what Russia was “counting on”.
“Everyone will have an idea,” Zelensky said. “(But) they can’t pressure Ukraine into surrendering territories. Why should any country of the world give (Russian President Vladimir) Putin its territory?”
He also again rejected the Russian accusation that Ukraine was behind an alleged drone attack on the Kremlin last week, which was described by Moscow as an attempt to assassinate President Putin.
The Ukrainian leader said he believed the apparent attack could have been a false flag operation, carried out by Russia itself, and that the claim was being used as an “excuse” by Moscow to attack his country.
“They constantly look for something to sound like a justification, saying: ‘You do this to us, so we do that to you’,” President Zelensky said.
“But it didn’t work. Even for their domestic public, it didn’t work. Even their own propagandists didn’t believe that. Because it looked very, very artificial.”