Zelensky explains why Ukraine can't start counteroffensive against Russian forces
Kyiv, Ukraine - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said an expected counteroffensive against Russian forces cannot happen now because his country lacks weapons, equipment, and ammunition.
Zelensky's assessment, made in a report published on Saturday in the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun, comes as reports from the front in the eastern city of Bakhmut show that Russian forces have stalled and Ukrainian defenders have consolidated their positions.
"We cannot start yet," Zelensky said. Without tanks and artillery, "no brave soldiers" can be sent to the front, Zelensky told the paper in an interview conducted on Thursday, on a train on his way back to Kyiv from visiting the front.
The British Defense Ministry, in its daily assessment of the war in Ukraine, said Russia's attempt to take Bakhmut has stalled because of "extreme attrition" of Russian forces, likely made worse by infighting between Russia's regular army and the mercenary Wagner Group, both of whom supply forces to the area.
It suggested that Russia has now turned its forces toward the town of Avdiivka further south and to the front line section near Kremina and Svatove north of Bakhmut.
This suggests that the Russians are returning to a more defensive position after their offensive effort, begun in January, has failed.
"Titanic effort" by Ukrainian forces stabilizes front
The British assessment dovetails with comments made by Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army.
"Thanks to the titanic efforts of the defensive forces, the situation is managing to stabilize," Zaluzhnyi announced on his Facebook account following a phone call with his British counterpart Tony Radakin on Friday night.
However, the section around Bakhmut is still one of the most difficult areas of the front. Ukraine has most likely also suffered heavy casualties from fighting there.
Cover photo: via REUTERS