“OThe occupants are trying with all their might to stop our men. The fighting is very violent”, admitted Zelensky in the traditional daily message, assuring, however, that, “whatever the enemy does, it is the Ukrainian army that dominates”.
Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in June to drive Russian forces away from eastern and southern territories, but has since made modest progress.
In the message, Zelensky spoke of “heavy fighting” taking place in the key areas of Lyman, Bakhmut and Avdiivka, in the east of the country, but also on the southern front.
In 2022, Ukraine recaptured vast swaths of territory around Kherson and Kharkiv in swift counter-offensives. But Ukrainian forces are now facing entrenched Russian defensive positions.
“I would also like to mention the soldiers of the Ismail border detachment, who, together with naval units, oppose Russian attacks with ‘shaheds'” (the HESA Shahed 136, or Geran 2, in Russian service, is a drone suicide bomber developed and manufactured in Iran by Shahed Aviation Industrie), he added.
“In total, terrorists have already launched at least 1,961 ‘shahed’ against Ukraine and a significant part has been shot down. Unfortunately, not all of them. We are working to shoot down more, to shoot down as many as possible. We are working to have more air defense systems . This is a task for each of our ambassadors, all representatives of Ukraine”, stressed Zelenky.
Zelensky has admitted in the past that the counteroffensive could be long and difficult and has called on his allies to send in more weapons.
Today, at the UN Security Council, the head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, accused Russia of “blackmail” with the agreement on Black Sea cereals, from which it withdrew in July, and of “aggression” to the world food system.
In mid-July, Russia refused to extend the agreement allowing Ukraine’s grain exports through the Black Sea, triggering a spike in grain prices that particularly hit poorer countries.
Also Read: Ukraine in the EU? Zelensky calls for talks to move forward this year
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