Ukraine troops advancing, defying critics, says Zelenskiy

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asserted on Saturday that Kyiv's troops were making progress in their counteroffensive against Russian forces, challenging Western officials who have expressed concerns about Ukraine's slow territorial gains.

Yayınlanma: 02.09.2023 - 16:11
Ukraine troops advancing, defying critics, says Zelenskiy
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The extensively anticipated counteroffensive, approaching its three-month mark, has resulted in the recapture of more than a dozen villages, but significant urban centers remain under Russian control, largely due to the extensive minefields and defensive fortifications employed by Russian forces.

This week, unnamed U.S. officials publicly voiced their frustration regarding the operation's sluggish pace and even critiqued Ukrainian strategy, a move that elicited a sharp response from Kyiv, as reported in Western media.

"Ukrainian forces are advancing. Despite all obstacles and irrespective of any comments, our progress continues, which is of paramount importance. We are on the move," Zelenskiy conveyed through the Telegram messaging app.

Concerns have arisen that Western support may wane as the colder and wetter weather conditions in the coming months could slow progress on the battlefield. The West has allocated significant financial resources to bolster the counteroffensive, and Kyiv has emphasized the need for additional support.

There has been a slight increase in momentum on one front in southeastern Zaporizhzhia. Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar reported on Friday that Ukrainian troops had breached the initial line of Russian defenses in that area. The White House acknowledged "notable success" by Ukraine in this region, although Maliar cautioned that Ukrainian forces had encountered even more heavily fortified positions on the other side after breaking through.

The Ukrainian military, in its daily update on the battlefield, did not report any new major breakthroughs but confirmed that its troops continued to advance toward Melitopol, a significant urban center in the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia region. Over the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian military documented 45 combat clashes on the frontlines and noted ongoing fighting in the east, where Ukrainian forces successfully repelled multiple Russian attacks.

Russia has already characterized the Ukrainian counteroffensive as a failure. Kyiv, however, maintains that its deliberate pace is aimed at minimizing casualties, although it faces significant challenges due to its limited modern air power capabilities.

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