Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday that Ukraine’s counteroffensive can’t begin until the US and other Western countries send more weapons and ammunition.
When asked about a potential counteroffensive in an interview with the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, Zelensky said Ukraine can’t “start yet” and can’t “send our brave soldiers to the front line without tanks, artillery and long-range rockets.”
“We are waiting for the receipt of ammunition from our partner countries. If there is political will, ways can be found to help us. We are at war and cannot wait,” he added. He said the military situation in eastern Ukraine is “not very good” due to the lack of ammo.
Ukrainian and Russian forces are still battling for the eastern Donbas city of Bakhmut, where both sides are using an enormous amount of ammunition. Zelensky said the Russian troops are using three times as much ammunition as the Ukrainian side.
Zelensky’s comments echo what a senior Ukrainian government official told The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity earlier this month. The official told the Post that Kyiv doesn’t have the “people or weapons” to pull off a counteroffensive.
Ukrainian soldiers fighting on the front have told several media outlets that they’re being sent into what has become known as the “meat grinder” in Bakhmut with little support and ammunition. New conscripts are also being sent into battle with barely any training.
The US and its allies have pledged a lot of new military aid for Ukraine over the past few months, but Zelensky keeps saying it’s not enough. The Biden administration wants Ukraine to launch a counteroffensive to make territorial gains this spring, but the prospect now seems unlikely.