Zelenskyy Explains Why Ukraine's Counteroffensive Has Not Materialised Yet

Talk of a spring counteroffensive against Russia was brewing all winter.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a press conference with President of the European Commission in Kyiv on May 9, 2023.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a press conference with President of the European Commission in Kyiv on May 9, 2023.
SERGEI SUPINSKY via Getty Images

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has just revealed why Ukraine has not yet launched its highly-anticipated counteroffensive in its war against Russia.

The Ukrainian president explained that it all came down to his troops’ supply of weapons, particularly armoured vehicles which are still arriving in batches from Nato allies.

Zelenskyy told public service broadcasters who are members of Eurovision News: “Mentally, we’re ready. In terms of how motivated we are, we’re ready. In terms of enough personnel in our brigades, we’re ready. In terms of equipment – not everything has arrived.”

The president explained armoured vehicles are needed to really bolster Ukraine’s chances at launching a successful counteroffensive.

He said: “With [what we already have] we can go forward, and, I think, be successful.

“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.”

Why is this Ukrainian counteroffensive so important?

This counteroffensive could help alter the war’s frontlines after months of minimal movement over winter due to the severe weather conditions.

Ukraine also needs the move to go well to prove to its Western allies that their funding and support is being used effectively by Kyiv.

As Zelenskyy told The Washington Post: “I believe that the more victories we have on the battlefield, frankly, the more people will believe in us, which means we will get more help.”

But, the exact details around this next stage of the war need to remain under wraps so that Russia remains in the dark about what Ukraine intends to do next.

Moscow is already strengthening its frontline across the areas Vladimir Putin’s illegally annexed last September – Luhansk and Donetsk in the east and Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in the south – as it waits for Kyiv’s next move.

It also cancelled some Victory Day celebrations, an annual event meant to honour the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War 2, in many areas close to the Ukrainian border.

Moscow was spooked by a mysterious drone attack on the Kremlin shortly before Victory Day, which it is blaming Kyiv for, although Ukraine denies any involvement.

Still, Zelenskyy told public service broadcasters that Russia was now “counting on” a “frozen conflict”, with immoveable frontlines.

The Kremlin has already downgraded its war aims, having originally intended to conquer the whole of Ukraine. Now it just wants to secure its gains in the occupied regions, such as Crimea – although Kyiv has sworn that it will retake all of its land from Russia.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has been trying to reduce expectations about what it will do next.

The country’s defence minister recently warned that it was overestimated, and Russia had 500,000 troops focused on the war, and at least 300,000 inside the country.

Oleksii Reznikov explained earlier this month: “The expectations from our counteroffensive campaign is overestimated in the world. Most people are... waiting for something huge.”

He said he feareed this could lead to “emotional disappointment”.


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