Zelensky says Ukraine ‘ready’ to launch counteroffensive
Ukraine is ready to launch its counteroffensive to recapture Russian-occupied territory, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview published on Saturday. “We strongly believe that we will succeed,” the president told the Wall Street Journal. Follow FRANCE 24’s live blog for all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
10:47am: Counter-offensive on track despite Russian missile barrages, says Ukrainian defence official
Ukraine’s plans for a counteroffensive against Russian occupation remain on track, its deputy defence minister told Reuters on Saturday, despite an “unprecedented” wave of missile and drone attacks across the country in recent weeks.
“[Russia’s] primary goal is to stop our counteroffensive and target decision-making centres,” Volodymyr V. Havrylov said on the sidelines of Asia’s top security conference, the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
Havrylov noted that his country’s air defence systems had been “more than 90 percent effective” against the attacks.
For Russia “it was a huge surprise to find that the effectiveness of (their ballistic missiles) was almost zero against modern air defence systems, which we received from our partners”, he said.
9:20am: Zelensky says Ukraine ready to launch counteroffensive
Ukraine is ready to launch its long-awaited counteroffensive to recapture Russian-occupied territory, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview published on Saturday.
“We strongly believe that we will succeed,” Zelensky told the Wall Street Journal.
“I don’t know how long it will take. To be honest, it can go a variety of ways, completely different. But we are going to do it, and we are ready.”
A long spell of dry weather in some parts of Ukraine has driven anticipation that the counteroffensive might be imminent.
Over the past several weeks Ukraine has increased its strikes on Russian ammunition depots and logistical routes.
6:47pm: Two hurt, industrial site ablaze after shelling in Russia’s Belgorod, says governor
The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region said on Friday that two people had been injured and an industrial facility had caught fire after shelling around the border town of Shebekino.
Both Belgorod region and the town of Shebekino, which are adjacent to Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, have come under repeated fire in recent weeks from the Ukrainian side of the border.
Key developments from Friday, June 2:
The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region said on Friday that two people had been killed and two others injured when Ukrainian forces shelled a road in the town of Maslova Pristan near the Ukrainian border.
Ukraine said Friday it destroyed all 15 missiles and 21 drones from a wave of overnight attacks that left two people wounded in Kyiv.
The capital has seen frequent air raids since the start of May, including a rare daytime attack on Monday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday he had ordered a complete audit of bomb shelters across the country after three people were killed in the capital after being unable to access a shelter during a Russian air strike.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)