Zelensky expects Russia to accentuate offensive in northeast Ukraine | EUROtoday

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated in an unique interview with AFP on Friday he expects Russia to step up its offensive within the northeast and warned Kyiv solely has 1 / 4 of the air defences it wants to carry the entrance line.

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Russian forces, which made solely reasonable advances in current months, launched a shock assault in Kharkiv area on May 10 that has resulted of their largest territorial positive factors in a year-and-a-half.

Zelensky stated Russian troops managed to advance between 5 to 10 kilometres (3-6 miles) alongside the northeastern border earlier than being stopped by Ukrainian forces, however added that the area may very well be the “first wave” in a wider offensive.

“I won’t say it’s a great success (for Russia) but we have to be sober and understand that they are going deeper into our territory,” he stated, talking from Kyiv in his first interview with international media because the offensive started.

Zelensky stated the scenario within the Kharkiv area has been “controlled” however “not stabilised”.

He doubled down on pleas to allies to ship extra air defence and fighter jets to fight Russia’s air superiority because the conflict grinds by its third yr.

“Today, we have about 25 percent of what we need to defend Ukraine. I’m talking about air defence,” he stated.

Ukraine wants “120 to 130” F-16 fighter jets or different superior plane to realize air “parity” with Russia, Zelensky stated.

Kharkiv assault

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated throughout a visit to China this week the northeastern offensive was in retaliation for Ukraine’s shelling of border areas and that Moscow was making an attempt to create a “security zone”.

Russian forces have taken 278 sq. kilometres (107 sq. miles) between May 9 and 15, their largest positive factors because the finish of 2022, AFP calculated utilizing knowledge from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Governor Oleg Synegubov stated Saturday Ukraine’s armed forces had repelled two makes an attempt to interrupt by defences in a single day, with the scenario “under control.”

Read extraBuffer or ruse?: Russia’s new offensive in northeast Ukraine ‘not an open street to Kharkiv’

Ukrainian officers have accused Russian troopers in Vovchansk of capturing dozens of civilians to make use of as “human shields” to defend their command headquarters — a declare AFP was not capable of instantly confirm.

“In the area of the city of Vovchansk, Ukrainian troops are reinforcing their defence to improve the tactical situation,” Synegubov stated.

Ukraine has evacuated virtually 10,000 individuals from the northeast border space since Russia launched the assault.

Putin stated there was no intention at this stage to take Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second metropolis, about 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the border. More than a million individuals nonetheless reside there.

Military analysts say the northeastern offensive might purpose to additional stretch Ukrainian troops and assets, with Russia urgent its manpower and ammunition benefit.

Ukraine military chief Oleksandr Syrsky stated Russia was making an attempt to drive Ukraine to tug up much more troops from its reserves.

“We realise that there will be heavy fighting ahead and the enemy is preparing for it,” he stated.

‘Nonsense scenario’

As he anticipates a widening Russian offensive, Zelensky acknowledged points with staffing and “morale” inside Ukraine’s typically outgunned and outmanned ranks.

“We need to staff the reserves… A large number of (brigades) are empty,” Zelensky advised AFP.

With no finish to the conflict in sight, Ukraine’s military is struggling to recruit, whereas fighters are rising exhausted and indignant on the lack of rotation.

Many Ukrainian troopers have been preventing for greater than two years with out the potential for being discharged.

Under a controversial mobilisation regulation that comes into drive Saturday, Kyiv has lowered the age at which males will be drafted from 27 to 25 and tightened punishments for many who keep away from being referred to as up.

But lawmakers scrapped a proposal to grant troopers who’ve served for greater than 36 months the choice to be discharged.

As Western allies press for a fast finish to the conflict, Zelensky insisted Ukraine remains to be enjoying the lengthy recreation.

“The West wants the war to end. Period. As soon as possible. And, for them, this is a fair peace,” he stated.

“We are in a nonsense situation where the West is afraid that Russia will lose the war. And it does not want Ukraine to lose it,” Zelensky stated.


© France Médias Monde graphic studio