Zelensky says more time is needed before a counterattack

  • Zelensky says that more armored vehicles will reduce the number of casualties
  • Kiev says that the Russian forces retreated to a distance of two kilometers near Bakhmut
  • The Kremlin acknowledges that the situation is very difficult

May 11 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview published on Thursday that Ukraine was still waiting for more Western armored vehicles to arrive before it could launch its long-awaited counter-offensive to retake Russian-occupied territories.

“We still need more time,” Zelensky said in an interview with European broadcasters, according to the BBC.

Ukrainian forces have already received enough equipment from the Western allies for the campaign, but some of the promised armored vehicles still arrived. He said waiting for them longer would reduce the number of casualties.

“with [what we have] He said: “We can move forward and be successful. But we are losing a lot of people. I think this is unacceptable.”

The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point, as Kiev prepares to launch its new counter-offensive after six months of keeping its forces on the defensive, while Russia launches a massive winter offensive that failed to capture significant territory.

The Western allies are sending hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles into Ukraine for its counteroffensive and have trained thousands of Ukrainian troops abroad.

Moscow’s main target for months has been the small city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, which it came close to capturing but did not capture what would be its only prize after months of Europe’s bloodiest ground battle since World War Two.

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In recent days, Ukraine has announced successes on the outskirts of the city. A Ukrainian unit and the commander of Russia’s private army, Wagner, said a Russian battalion fled its positions on Tuesday and abandoned a plot of land southwest of Bakhmut.

On Wednesday, the commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces said that the Russian forces had retreated in some places by up to two kilometers to the front line.

The Russian Defense Ministry did not comment on the reports, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov acknowledged in comments he made overnight that the war had been “very difficult”.

He said that he had no doubts that Bakhmut “will be captured and kept under control.”

In Brussels, a senior NATO military official said the war would be an increasing battle between large numbers of poorly trained Russian forces with outdated equipment and a smaller Ukrainian force with better Western weaponry and training.

Admiral Robbauer, the Dutch officer who heads NATO’s Military Committee, said Russia was deploying T-54 tanks – an older model designed in the years after World War II.

Additional reporting by Tom Palmforth, Olena Harmash, Pavel Politiuk, David Leungren and Ron Popeski; Editing by Peter Graff, Alex Richardson, David Gregorio, and Diane Kraft

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