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Zelensky speaks of Ukraine's strategy, warns of Russia's counteroffensive

25.02.2024 20:00
Ukraine needs to enhance both its military and diplomatic strategies in order to achieve peace that aligns with its interests, Zelensky said at a press conference, held one day after the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the Forum Ukraine. Year 2024 in Kyiv, Ukraine, 25 February 2024. EPASERGEY DOLZHENKO
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the Forum 'Ukraine. Year 2024' in Kyiv, Ukraine, 25 February 2024. EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

Speaking at the "Ukraine. Year 2024" forum in Kyiv on Sunday, Zelensky acknowledged the significant toll of 31,000 Ukrainian troops killed in the war, emphasizing the magnitude of the loss for Ukraine.

Ukraine's strategy

Anticipating potential Russian counteroffensive operations, Zelensky emphasized the need for Ukraine to prepare defensively.

"Russia will prepare counteroffensive operations in early summer, or at the end of May if they can," the Ukrainian president said.

He hinted at Ukraine's new counteroffensive plan but refrained from disclosing specifics due to security concerns.

"There is a plan [for a new counteroffensive ed.],... This plan is related to the change of management," Zelensky said, referring to recent changes in Ukraine's military leadership as part of the preparation process.

Addressing the issue of Kyiv's highly anticipated counteroffensive last year, Zelensky suggested that its plans had been leaked to Russia. 

"Our counteroffensive action plans were on the Kremlin’s table before the counteroffensive actions began," he said.

Zelensky stressed the importance of national unity during this critical period, highlighting the vulnerability if divisions were to arise both internally and externally.

Ukraine’s leader expressed optimism about a potential peace summit in the spring, aiming to leverage diplomatic initiatives to end the war.

"We will offer a platform on which he [Putin ed.] can agree that he lost this war and that it was a mistake."

Urgent need for weapons

Expressing hope for positive support from the US Congress, Zelensky emphasized the urgency of receiving assistance from the West, particularly in terms of weaponry, to bolster Ukraine's position on the battlefield.

"When we talk about American aid, we must understand that this isn't a question of financial reserves; it's about weapons," he explained.

He also mentioned that Ukraine had received about 30% of the 1 million artillery shells promised by the European Union.

Polish farmers' protest

When asked about a dispute with Poland involving protests by Polish farmers at the border with Ukraine, Zelensky expressed hope that this conflict would be resolved.

However, he criticized the unfair use of Ukraine for political pressure on European institutions and pledged to protect Ukrainian businesses.

"The preservation of the alliance with Poland is important to us, and if such a solution is not found, we will protect our businesses," said the Ukrainian president, adding that Ukraine was "very grateful to Polish society for being with Ukrainians since the beginning of the war."


Source: Reuters, PAP