Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Ukrainian counter-offensive was facing very stiff resistance. “Because for Russia to lose this campaign in Ukraine means to actually lose the war,” Zelensky said in an interview with NBC News.
News from the front line is “generally positive, but hard,” the Ukrainian president said, adding that the slow delivery of new Western weapons, such as fighter jets, was helping Russia’s defense. “We are losing time, we are losing people and, most importantly, we are losing our advantage,” Zelensky said.
Adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Mykhailo Podolyak said on the eve that Ukraine “has not yet launched” a counteroffensive as such, and is conducting offensive operations to identify weaknesses in the defense of the Russian army.
According to the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Anna Malyar, Ukrainian troops advanced about one kilometer in three directions: in the Bakhmut area and in two places on the southern front. Malyar does not specify how long this advance took place. She acknowledged that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are facing “strong resistance” and the advantage of the Russians in the number of people and equipment.
Yesterday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the liberation of seven settlements during the last week of the counteroffensive. According to the military, Ukraine has regained control over 103 square kilometers of its territory.
Officially, the General Staff of Ukraine did not announce the transition to a large-scale counteroffensive, preparations for which have been carried out in recent months. At the same time, many experts agree that Ukraine has not yet brought the main forces into battle.
The Russian Defense Ministry claims that the offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine began on June 4 and cites huge numbers of alleged Ukrainian losses – thousands of people killed, hundreds of armored vehicles destroyed. On June 9, Vladimir Putin said that during the counter-offensive, Russia’s losses were ten times lower than those of Ukraine, and Ukraine had not succeeded anywhere. Putin did not name any figures. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky says that it is Russia that bears the big losses.
It is not yet possible to independently assess the extent of losses on both sides during the current offensive.
Western officials are generally positive about the development of the Ukrainian offensive, but warn that the operation will be difficult and may continue for a long time.
The Washington Post, citing Ukrainian officials, writes that Ukraine cannot delay the counteroffensive, as Kiev intends to make progress before the onset of cold weather. The interlocutors of the newspaper noted that offensive actions would entail a large number of casualties and loss of equipment. The situation, they say, is exacerbated by the lack of Western aircraft for air cover and long-range artillery to strike deep into Russian-controlled Ukrainian territories.