Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Ukraine’s counteroffensive is going “slower than desired” as Ukrainian forces have made little progress and are taking heavy losses.
“Some people believe this is a Hollywood movie and expect results now. It’s not,” Zelensky told BBC in an interview published Wednesday. “What’s at stake is people’s lives.”
So far, Ukraine has claimed it captured eight small villages in the southern Zaporizhzhia Oblast and in the eastern Donetsk Oblast since the counteroffensive began earlier this month, minimal gains that have come at a high cost.
Zelensky said his forces were having difficulty because Russia had mined a lot of areas. “Whatever some might want, including attempts to pressure us, with all due respect, we will advance on the battlefield the way we deem best,” he said.
Leading up to Ukraine’s counteroffensive, the Discord leaks and media reports revealed that the US did not expect Ukraine to regain significant territory. But the Biden administration pushed for the assault anyway and has rejected the idea of a ceasefire or peace talks.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has acknowledged the difficulties Ukraine is facing. “This is a very difficult fight. It’s a very violent fight, and it will likely take a considerable amount of time and at high cost,” he said last week.
Despite the situation, Zelensky said that “victories on the battlefield are necessary” and vowed that Ukrainian soldiers will continue fighting. “No matter how far we advance in our counteroffensive, we will not agree to a frozen conflict because that is war, that is a prospectless development for Ukraine,” he said.