Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has declared that the conflict with Russia has entered a new phase, citing the challenges posed by the approaching winter. The failure of a summer counteroffensive, coupled with persistent shortages of weapons and ground forces, has led to a reassessment of the situation.
As winter descends on Ukraine, military leaders must confront familiar obstacles, including freezing temperatures and exposed soldiers in barren fields. Additionally, there is a renewed threat of widespread Russian aerial assaults targeting energy infrastructure and civilians in cities.
In a recent exclusive interview with The Associated Press in Kharkiv, Zelenskyy expressed optimism despite setbacks. Here are key points from the interview:
Modest gains from the counteroffensive
The much-anticipated counteroffensive, backed by substantial Western military aid, including heavy weaponry, fell short of expectations. Ukrainian officials are now concerned about the potential generosity of further assistance.
“We wanted faster results. From that perspective, unfortunately, we did not achieve the desired results. And this is a fact,” acknowledged Zelenskyy. Despite this, he commended the efforts of Ukrainian troops, emphasizing their resilience against the Russian military.
The static battle lines have not prompted pressure from Ukraine’s allies to negotiate a peace deal with Russia. Zelenskyy stated, “I don’t feel it yet,” though acknowledging that some voices are advocating for such negotiations. Ukraine aims to garner global support to politically isolate Russia and shape the formula for peace.
Reliance on foreign-made weapons
Zelenskyy highlighted the dwindling ammunition stockpiles and the inadequate supply of weapons from allies to repel Russia. During his recent meetings with U.S. President Joe Biden and other top officials, he urgently appealed for cheap loans and licenses to manufacture U.S. weaponry.
The challenges posed by the approaching winter and ongoing military operations underscore the urgency for sustained international support. Despite the difficulties, Zelenskyy remains determined to involve as many countries as possible in isolating Russia and advancing the cause of peace.
In conclusion, Ukraine faces a complex and evolving situation on the battlefield, and Zelenskyy’s calls for increased support and political isolation of Russia reflect the ongoing efforts to navigate through these challenges.