In statements on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed that Kyiv’s counteroffensive has started. “Counteroffensive and defensive actions are being taken in Ukraine,” Zelensky announced in Kyiv alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Zelensky’s remarks came days after international press reports had indicated that Ukraine’s much-anticipated counteroffensive had finally begun.
“I don’t comment on the scale. I am in touch with our commanders. Everyone is in a positive mood. Pass this on to Putin,” Zelensky added. Trudeau had made a “surprise” visit to Ukraine and pledged an additional $375 million in defense aid to Zelensky.
Trudeau and other NATO heads of state are set to meet at the Vilnius Summit next month in Lithuania where the alliance is set to discuss Ukraine’s membership status. Zelensky has continuously for Kyiv to receive full NATO membership or, at the very least, strong security guarantees.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said from Sochi, “We can clearly say the offensive has started, as indicated by the Ukrainian army’s use of strategic reserves.”
“But the Ukrainian troops haven’t achieved their stated tasks in a single area of fighting,” Putin said. “We are seeing that the Ukrainian regime’s troops are suffering significant losses,” Putin added.
“It’s known that the offensive side suffers losses of 3 to 1 – it’s sort of classic – but in this case, the losses significantly exceed that classic level,” he concluded
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Zelensky called Putin’s remarks “interesting” during a press conference Saturday and said that his remarks imply “Russians feel they won’t stay” on Ukrainian territory “for long.”
Despite the positive public comments from Zelensky, Kyiv has already suffered a major symbolic blow when Russian forces destroyed several Western-supplied armored fighting vehicles and tanks. In total, some 16 U.S.-provided armored vehicles have been destroyed by Russian troops.
Meanwhile, several war analysts have confirmed that Russian troops destroyed their first German-made Leopard II tank on Wednesday. Other images and videos that have surfaced on social media also show what appear to be destroyed Bradley fighting vehicles, which were provided by the U.S.
Kyiv’s counteroffensive is currently concentrated in 4 areas of eastern and southern Ukraine.
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