Presidential adviser Igor Zhovkva insisted the operation is still being planned after a fellow Zelensky aide claimed it had already started
Ukrainian Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak. © AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
Ukrainian government officials have made contradictory claims on whether the much-anticipated counteroffensive against Russian forces has begun. The leadership in Kiev has insisted for the past several months that the country is preparing to drive enemy forces from territories under Moscow’s control.
Speaking to Bloomberg on Thursday, a senior adviser to President Vladimir Zelensky, Igor Zhovkva, stated that Ukraine “will further be preparing the counteroffensive.” He explained that the operation will commence once Kiev has received all the necessary weapons from its backers, including long-range artillery, ammunition, and battle tanks.
Speaking the same day, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR), Andrey Yusov, also used the future tense when talking about the planned counteroffensive.
“As for the specifics, we definitely shouldn’t be asking every day, ‘What’s new with the counteroffensive?’ But, no doubt, there will be liberation,” the official insisted, adding that “everything will be alright.”
The statements came shortly after another senior aide to President Zelensky, Mikhail Podoliak, told Italy’s Rai TV channel that the “counteroffensive has been going on for several days now, intense warfare is underway along the 1,500km-long border.”
He also stressed Ukraine’s commitment to not using Western-provided weapons to conduct strikes on Russian soil. At the same time, Podoliak noted that Kiev sees Crimea as well as the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as legitimate targets. Ukraine and Russia both consider these territories to be their own.