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Zelensky: Russia Plans New Offensive in Ukraine in May


In Kyiv, President Zelensky disclosed that Russian forces are gearing up for a fresh offensive in late May or summer. Despite challenges, Ukraine has formulated a clear battlefield plan to counter potential assaults. Commemorating the second anniversary of Russia's invasion, Zelensky emphasized the imperative of unity with Western allies, anticipating two challenging months and a subsequent Russian assault.

He projected Russia's counteroffensive actions, aiming to prepare Ukraine accordingly. Zelensky noted the ineffectiveness of Russia's previous assault initiated on October 8. The Ukrainian military is committed to formulating and executing its plan in response.

Acknowledging the ongoing issues, including shortages of artillery shells and manpower, Zelensky underscored the significance of Western support. He disclosed that 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed since February 2022, providing the first official toll in over a year. Expressing confidence, he anticipated the U.S. Congress approving substantial military and financial assistance within a month.

Highlighting the dependence on Western aid, Zelensky criticized the European Union for delivering only 30% of the promised 1 million ammunition shells. He stressed the urgency of support, considering Russia's recent gains, particularly the capture of Avdiivka.

Zelensky maintained secrecy about specific military details but assured the existence of a comprehensive plan to counter Russian forces. The recent replacement of the armed forces chief was framed as part of this undisclosed military strategy. Zelensky envisioned a spring summit in Switzerland to discuss peace vision with allies, later presenting it to Russia.

The president remained optimistic about diplomatic initiatives, expressing hope for long-range missile support. He underscored the critical importance of troop rotations and emphasized the need to better prepare reserve forces.

While Zelensky refrained from providing a figure for the wounded to thwart aiding Russian war planning, the Russian foreign ministry promptly rejected the disclosed estimate of Ukrainian military losses. The complex dynamics underscore the gravity of the situation, with Ukraine navigating military challenges, seeking support, and maintaining diplomatic efforts for a peaceful resolution.


Feb. 26, 2024 12:34 p.m. 1116

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