Ukraine: Zelenskyy ‘Strongly Believes’ Counteroffensive Will Be Successful


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Ukraine is ready to launch a counteroffensive against Russia.

In a Wall Street Journal report published Saturday, the Ukrainian leader said, “We strongly believe that we will succeed.”

“I don’t know how long it will take,” he said, “but … we are ready.” He said he wished he had more Western weapons, “but we can’t wait for months,” but Zelenskyy did not reveal a date for the counteroffensive.

In addition, Zelenskyy said he is a bit apprehensive about the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in 2024 because a less supportive administration could win.

Meanwhile, in his daily speech, the Ukrainian president addressed the need for a stronger air defense system through further development, supply and production of the “necessary missiles” in Ukraine. “The Ukrainian air shield must continuously have all it needs. We are engaged in the coalition of Patriot systems and the coalition of modern fighters — actively every day,” he said.

Regarding the long-awaited F-16 fighter jets, U.S. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said they won’t be ready for Ukraine’s upcoming counteroffensive.

Upon his arrival in France earlier this week, Milley said “everyone recognizes Ukraine needs a modernized air force,” but regarding the delivery of F-16s, “it’s going to take a considerable amount of time.”

At a Friday news conference, Zelenskyy also commented on Ukraine’s coming counteroffensive, saying it is “not a movie” and adding that it is not easy to publicly describe how it will unfold.

“The main thing is for Russia to see it, and not only see it, but feel it. Specifically, we are talking about the forces that have occupied our territory,” he added. The Ukrainian president said liberating Ukrainian territories is the main goal of the counteroffensive, and that when that starts to occur, “you will understand what is happening.”

Blinken: Russian pullout required

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that a “just and lasting” peace deal in Ukraine must include the withdrawal of Russian troops for all Ukrainian-held territories.

“A cease-fire that simply freezes current lines in place and enables [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to consolidate control over the territory he seized and then rest, rearm and reattack: That is not a just and lasting peace,” Blinken said.

Speaking in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, NATO’s newest member, Blinken said such a violation of the United Nations Charter would send Moscow and “other would-be aggressors around the world” the wrong message.

Blinken added that the United States will encourage peace efforts by other nations as long as they uphold the U.N. Charter and Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

New START nuclear treaty

The Biden administration is retaliating after Russia suspended the New START nuclear treaty. The State Department announced Thursday it is revoking the visas of Russian nuclear inspectors, denying pending applications for new monitors and canceling standard clearances for Russian aircraft to enter U.S. airspace.

The State Department said it was taking those steps and others in response to Russia’s “ongoing violations” of New START, the last arms control treaty remaining between the two countries.

“The United States is committed to full and mutual implementation of the New START treaty,” it said. “Consistent with that commitment, the United States has adopted lawful countermeasures in response to the Russian Federation’s ongoing violations of the New START treaty.”

Russia suspended its participation in the New START treaty in February in a move that the U.S. said was “legally invalid.”

Allowing inspections of weapons sites and providing information on the placement of intercontinental and submarine-based ballistic missiles and their test launches are critical components of New START, which then-Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed in 2010.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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