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May 25, 2023
Ukraine Awaits Weapons for Counteroffensive, Zelenskiy Aide Says
(Bloomberg) -- A top advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he’s confident an anticipated counteroffensive against Russian forces will yield results – and will begin as soon as the country receives the necessary weaponry from allies.
“We will further be preparing the counteroffensive,” Ihor Zhovkva, Zelenskiy’s deputy chief of staff focused on foreign affairs, told Bloomberg Television from Kyiv on Thursday. He cited deliveries of long-range artillery, ammunition and battle tanks.
Russian forces are dug in across a frontline of some 1,500 kilometer (932 miles) in eastern and southern Ukraine, even as the Russian military touted its capture of the embattled city of Bakhmut — after a nearly yearlong battle that imposed heavy costs on both sides.
The Kremlin intensified a missile and drone attack across Ukraine, as Zelenskiy warned that Moscow may be switching to so-called mixed strikes with varying types of drones and missiles. Kyiv’s air defense said it intercepted 36 loitering drones launched overnight Thursday.
While allies have spent tens of billions of dollars to arm Ukraine for the coming offensive, Ukraine has sent mixed messages on the timing and nature of the counterstrike.
Another Zelenskiy aide, Mykhailo Podolyak, clarified remarks he made earlier to Italy’s Rai television that the campaign had already begun. The counteroffensive won’t be a “single event” but consist of “dozens of different actions,” Podolyak, an advisor to Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, said on Twitter.
European allies meanwhile will finalize plans as soon as June to start training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets, Denmark’s defense minister said. Zhovkva said the training will start soon and “won’t take much time.”
The presidential aide ridiculed comments by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who told Bloomberg this week that Ukraine won’t be able to defeat Russia’s military in the war.
“Maybe I missed something, but maybe the prime minister became a very good military expert,” Zhovkva said.
(Updates with counteroffensive speculation, Podolyak comments, further quotes from third paragraph.)
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