Ukraine’s president gives a strong signal, yet the expected counteroffensive begins


Kiev
CNN

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has given his clearest hint yet of Ukraine A long-awaited push to liberate territory still held by Russia’s occupation forces is underway, he said, adding that “corresponding counteroffensive defensive operations are underway in Ukraine.”

Speaking in Kiev on Saturday, the Ukrainian leader was asked to respond to the comments of his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, who said on Friday, “That can be said with absolute certainty. [Ukrainian] The counterattack has begun.”

The Russian leader added that it had met with no success.

Zelensky brushed off Putin’s suggestions that Ukraine’s armed forces were struggling and tried to apply some psychological pressure.

“It’s interesting that Putin talked about our counterattack. It’s important that Russia realizes that [the counteroffensive]I feel they don’t have much time left,” he said.

On the battlefield, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced further Ukrainian offensive operations on the southern and eastern fronts. Zaporizhia.

An update from the Defense Ministry, posted on its Telegram channel, said troops of the Vostok Brigade had repulsed two attempts by Ukrainian tank units, one near the village of Novopokhrovka, immediately southeast of the frontline town of Orikhiv.

In addition, it said two Ukrainian armored columns were repulsed near Novodanilovka and Mala Tamkachka. In the same area, Russian military bloggers said Russian troops continued to report heavy Ukrainian artillery fire at positions near the road south of Orihiv to Dokmok.

Further east on the front line southwest of Velika Novosilka in Donetsk region, the Russian Defense Ministry said three more attempts were made by Ukrainian forces, all of which were defeated.

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CNN could not verify the Russian Defense Ministry’s claims, and the picture from the Ukrainian side is unclear.

Officials in Kiev have released little information since they stepped up operations on the front between Zaporizhia and Donetsk nearly six days ago.

Zelensky, in his remarks at a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday, referred to the countermeasures, saying, “I will not give any details about what state it is in.”

After spending much of the winter fighting around Bagmut, training its soldiers and waiting for the arrival of Western military aid — long-range attack weapons like tanks and Storm Shadow missiles — Ukraine has clearly stepped up in the past few weeks. Until military operations.

These include so-called reconnaissance operations—attacks on targets behind the front lines, such as fuel depots and soldiers’ barracks—and more recently reconnaissance operations, military-run operations sometimes called reconnaissance-in-force operations. To test the enemy’s weak points and its combat readiness.

Despite this, the Ukrainian leader’s comments on Saturday show that there is still no evidence that Ukraine has launched a major advance involving large numbers of troops.

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