Ukraine’s stark counteroffensive warning as Zelensky hits out at arms shipments

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky argued the counteroffensive would advance faster if his soldiers were provided by the West with powerful weapons in a quicker fashion and more sanctions were issued against Russia.

Appearing at the 18th Yalta European Strategy meeting “The Future is Decided in Ukraine”, the head of state acknowledged the war in his country was “slowing down”.

But he noted the conflict launched by Russia in February last year is complex, with many moving parts to be considered.

And the West also has a huge part to play in the counteroffensive, he said.

Mr Zelensky said: “All processes are becoming more complicated and slower: from sanctions to the provision of weapons.

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“When some partners say, ‘So what about the counteroffensive, when will the next step be?’ My answer is that today our steps are probably faster than new sanctions packages.”

The UK, the US and the EU bloc have issued several rounds of sanctions against Russia since the beginning of the illegal invasion.

As of July 20, Britain targeted 229 entities and 1,612 individuals – including 130 oligarchs with a net worth of more than £145 billion – with its sanctions.

The European bloc hit some 1,800 individuals and targeted the transit of goods and technology via Russia with its 11 rounds of sanctions issued so far.

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Most notably, these sanctions also targeted Russia’s energy market, which has forced Moscow to look east to sell, at a much cheaper price, its oil.

The latest round of sanctions against Russia was issued by the US on August 11, three days after the UK hit with measures businesses in Russia, Turkey and Dubai, and individuals in Slovakia, Switzerland and Iran, to target Russia’s access to foreign military equipment.

By helping Ukraine free its occupied territory, the West doesn’t simply support the eastern European country but is also protecting its own citizens, Mr Zelensky said.

He then added Ukraine needs specific equipment to accelerate its maneuvres, particularly modern fighter jets.

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While expressing gratitude to Western partners for the military aid provided over the past 18 months, he added: “There are specific square kilometres of our land, and each liberated metre is a human life… The longer it takes, the more people suffer.

“What is the impact of weapons? Concrete and direct, without abstractions and rhetoric. There is a specific impact of a specific weapon. The more powerful and long-range it is, the faster the counteroffensive is. The faster the restoration of our territory is.

“If we are not in the sky and Russia is, they stop us from the sky. They stop our counteroffensive.”

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