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regular-article-logo Friday, 23 February 2024

Ukrainian offensive slower than desired, says country's President Volodymyr Zelensky

His adversary, Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Moscow had observed a 'lull' in Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which began early this month

Reuters Kyiv Published 22.06.23, 05:46 AM
Volodymyr Zelensky

Volodymyr Zelensky File picture

President Volodymyr Zelensky was quoted on Wednesday as saying progress in Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian forces was “slower than desired”, but that Kyiv would not be pressured into speeding it up.

“Some people believe this is a Hollywood movie and expect results now. It’s not,” the BBC quoted him as saying in an interview to be broadcast later. “What’s at stake is people’s lives.”

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His adversary, Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Moscow had observed a “lull” in Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which began early this month. Although Ukraine still had some offensive potential, Kyiv understood it had “no chance”, Putin said in televised remarks. Ukraine says it has reclaimed eight villages so far in its long-awaited counter-offensive, its first substantial gains on the battlefield for seven months.

But Ukrainian forces so far have yet to push their way to the main defensive lines that Russia has had months to prepare. Kyiv is believed to have set aside 12 brigades of thousands of troops each, most of which have yet to join the fight.

Reuters has visited some villages recaptured by Ukrainian forces and confirmed an advance of several kilometres.

The BBC quoted Zelensky as saying the military push was not going easily because 200,000 sq km of Ukrainian territory had been mined by Russian forces. “Whatever some might want, including attempts to pressure us, with all due respect, we will advance on the battlefield the way we deem best,” he added.

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