KYIV, – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy stated that the progress of Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian forces was slower than desired but emphasized that Kyiv would not be pressured into speeding up its actions.
According to Reuters, Zelenskiy acknowledged that the situation was not like a Hollywood movie, and people’s lives were at stake. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin remarked that there had been a “lull” in Ukraine’s counteroffensive, suggesting that Ukraine understood it had no chance against Russia.
Ukraine has announced that it has reclaimed eight villages in its counteroffensive, marking its first substantial gains on the battlefield in seven months. However, Ukrainian forces have not yet reached the main defensive lines that Russia has had time to prepare.
Ukrainian forces are believed to have mobilized 12 brigades, but most of them have yet to join the fight. The report also mentioned 35 armed clashes in the main sectors of the front over the past 24 hours, with Ukrainian anti-aircraft units downing 32 Iranian-made Shahed drones.
Zelenskiy mentioned that the military push was challenging due to the extensive mining of Ukrainian territory by Russian forces, covering an area of 200,000 square kilometers (77,220 square miles). Despite external pressure, Zelenskiy asserted that Ukraine would advance on the battlefield as it deemed best.
Ukrainian officials stated that forces in the south were consolidating earlier gains, while troops in the east were holding off Russian attacks.
Zelenskiy’s interview with the BBC coincided with a conference in London where allies were expected to pledge billions of dollars in economic and reconstruction aid for Ukraine.
The United States offered $1.3 billion, and Ukraine hoped to receive almost $7 billion from the event. Concerns have been raised that Ukraine needs to demonstrate significant progress on the battlefield to maintain political support from its Western allies.
Both sides have increased longer-range attacks with missiles and drones in preparation for the fighting at the front. The European Union also agreed to impose a new package of sanctions against Russia to prevent countries and companies from circumventing existing measures.