“Sand we are not in heaven and Russia is keeping us from heaven. They are preventing our counteroffensive”, declared the Ukrainian President, quoted by the agency France Presse (AFP), at a conference in Kyiv.
The Ukrainian head of state also pointed out processes “that are becoming more complicated and slower, when it comes to sanctions or the supply of weapons” from the West.
“The war is slowing down, we recognize this fact,” he said.
He continued: “When partners ask us ‘what’s the next step in the counter-offensive?’ my answer is that today our steps are probably faster than the new sanctions packages” targeting Russia.
Ukraine regularly complains about the slow pace of retaliatory measures (sanctions) aimed at slowing down the Russian war effort.
Zelensky once again stressed that if the West delivered long-range ammunition faster, which makes it possible to attack Russian rear defenses and logistics, the Ukrainian army would also advance faster.
“A specific weapon has a specific impact. The more powerful and long-range it is, the faster the counteroffensive will be”, he highlighted.
Western allies only delivered munitions of this type in a very phased manner, fearing that Kyiv would use them to bomb Russian territory, which could lead to an escalation of the conflict.
Likewise, Ukraine has complained for months about the slow pace of negotiations on the delivery of F-16 fighters, while the country has only a small and aging fleet of planes developed during the Soviet era.
After months of discussions and waiting for the “green light” from Washington, several dozen of these US aircraft will be delivered by European countries, but their arrival in the skies of Ukraine will take months, taking into account, in particular, the training period of the pilots.
Zelensky’s words follow US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Kyiv on Wednesday, where he praised the progress of the Ukrainian counter-offensive while announcing a new aid package for Ukraine of 1,000 euros. million dollars (around 933 million euros at current exchange rates), to which was added, the following day, new funding by the Department of Defense for military support in the amount of 600 million dollars (around 560 million of euros).
The Ukrainian counteroffensive launched in June in the east and south faces difficulties in advancing due to Russian air superiority, but also a complex network of defense lines, in particular on the front towards the Sea of Azov, made up of trenches, minefields and antitank traps.
Ukraine hopes, however, to be able to open a breach in the Robotyne area, in the south, after taking this village considered strategic. Moscow has so far not admitted a withdrawal in this area and reports daily fighting.
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