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Zelensky promises ‘new counteroffensive’

Ukraine is planning a new counteroffensive against Russia despite a string of recent setbacks including the failure to break through Moscow’s defenses last year and the loss of the strategic city of Avdeevka in Donbass, President Vladimir Zelensky has said.

In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Zelensky acknowledged that some Western backers have expressed impatience with Kiev and the perceived lack of progress, asking him “when we will finish the war, when will we win.”

The Ukrainian leader stressed that his utmost priority is to avoid heavy casualties, and that if Kiev loses its soldiers, it “will lose everything,” even if the West provides it with the most advanced weapons.

  • “To defend [is] the task number one and then to continue our successful story on the Black Sea” he said, adding that Russia is preparing certain “surprises” in the region, without elaborating further.
  • The “south is very important,” he continued, noting that Kiev’s other priority is to hold the line in Donbass, and that “of course, we will prepare a new counteroffensive, a new operation.”

Zelensky cautioned that the ultimate plan depends on many factors, and declined to give a possible timeframe for a new push.

Ukraine attempted a large-scale offensive early last summer but failed to make any substantial progress despite being reinforced with a massive amount of Western military hardware.

  • Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has said Kiev suffered colossal losses in the campaign, with more than 215,000 troops lost in 2023 alone.

Last week, Russian troops took full control of the heavily fortified city of Avdeevka, which was frequently used as a launch ground for attacks on Donetsk, many of which have targeted civilians.

  • The Russian Defense Ministry said the Ukrainian troops left their positions in a “disorderly retreat,” losing some 1,500 soldiers in the process.

The New York Times, citing sources, has suggested that Moscow may have captured up to 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers during the rout.

Commenting on the retreat, Zelensky called the decision to leave Avdeevka “absolutely logical,” saying its goal was to spare the lives of Ukrainian troops.

Source: RT