Ukraine ready for counteroffensive, but risks heavy losses, says Zelensky
Preparations for a Ukrainian counteroffensive are complete, but the loss of life could be heavy because of Russian air superiority, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (c.) after a press conference in Bulboaca, near Chisinau, Moldova, Thursday, June 1, 2023. AP - Carl Court
Text by: RFI Follow
In an interview published this Saturday, June 3 by the Wall Street Journal, the Ukrainian president said about the counter-offensive: "In my opinion, as of today, we are ready (...) We firmly believe that we will succeed," adding that he did not know "how long it will take".
He warned, however, that the offensive would be "dangerous" without increased Western help to counter Russian air attacks. "Everyone knows that a counter-offensive without air superiority is very dangerous," the Ukrainian president added.
« We don't want to be a member of NATO during the war »
Only one weapon, the US Patriot surface-to-air missile system, can protect Ukraine's skies, he added, calling for more such weapons to be delivered to his country. "One weapon robs Russia of its ability to intimidate tens of millions of people: the Patriots missiles," he said.
In the run-up to the NATO summit to be held in Vilnius, Lithuania, next month, he admitted that he understood that it was not possible for his country to join the Atlantic Alliance during the Russian invasion. "We don't want to be a member of NATO during the war," he said. "It's too late. But tell me how many lives a sentence is worth at the top of Vilnius?»
If we are not recognized and if we do not receive a signal in Vilnius (with a view to a possible and future membership.-Editor's note), I think it is useless for Ukraine to participate in this summit," he said.
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- Volodymyr Zelensky