Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered to launch a counteroffensive earlier and asked the U.S. and EU for weapons and ammunition, but due to delays in deliveries, Kyiv and its Western allies let Russia bolster its defense.
“I am grateful to the U.S. as a leader in supporting us. But I told them, as well as European leaders, that we would like to start our counteroffensive earlier, and we need all the weapons and ammunition for that. Why? Because if we start later, we will advance much slower”, Zelensky told CNN.
According to him, “everyone understood” that if we started the counteroffensive later, “most of our territory would be mined”. “We are giving our enemy time and opportunity to plant more mines and prepare their defensive lines”, the Ukrainian president explained.
Now, in some areas, the AFU cannot “even think about launching” an offensive because they do not have “appropriate weapons”, Zelensky explained. He added that all these difficulties on the battlefield lead to a “slowdown” of the counteroffensive.
In early July, Zelensky attributed the slow advance of Ukrainian troops to torrential rains. At the same time, he noted that Kiev wanted to show the results of the counteroffensive before the NATO summit, which starts in Vilnius on 11 July.
Ukraine launched a large-scale offensive on June 4. According to the country’s Defense Ministry, within a month, the armed forces managed to liberate more than 160 square kilometers of territory in Zaporizhzhia, Kherson and Donetsk regions from the Russian occupation.
At the same time, Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar stressed that the AFU was holding back some of its reserves for the “main strike”? which was yet to come.
For his part, Valerii Zaluzhny, the commander-in-chief of the AFU, noted that he was irritated by talks about the slow progress of the Ukrainian army. According to him, “every meter is given in blood”, and the military lacks weapons and aviation.
Without providing Ukraine with everything it needs and in full scope, the counterattack plans “are not feasible at all”, the AFU chief said.
At the same time, Ukraine’s lack of significant successes on the battlefield has some Western officials nervous, The Economist wrote. CNN’s sources among U.S. officials also said that the AFU offensive “is not living up to expectations on any front”.