"Ukrainians are breaking through serious lines of defence": Blinken urges not to rush to assess Ukrainian counter-offensive
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said it was too early to draw conclusions about the success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. At the same time, he stressed that the United States and its partners have provided Ukraine with "everything it needs" to succeed.
Blinken said this while speaking at the Aspen Security Forum on Friday, 21 July, Voice of America reports. The US Secretary of State noted that the occupiers' defence lines are heavily fortified, but Ukrainians manage to break through them.
"We said from the beginning that it would be difficult. You have probably heard, and many have said, that the Russians have prepared serious and fortified defence lines. The Ukrainians are breaking through them," Blinken said.
He also noted that the Ukrainians, who have already liberated half of the territories seized by the Russians since the beginning of the war, "have everything they need to succeed" as they "are fighting for their land, their country, their future and their freedom."
"And when they deploy and begin to operate, all the forces that have been trained in recent months, the equipment that we and about 50 countries have provided them, I think it's going to make a difference and it's going to make a difference," the US Secretary of State said.
At the same time, speaking at the same forum via video link, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the Ukrainian counter-offensive was moving more slowly than planned because the operation was delayed due to insufficient supplies of weapons.
Zelenskyy noted that the offensive was planned to begin in the spring, but at that time Ukraine lacked ammunition, weapons, and properly trained brigades. Therefore, in order to save the lives of the military, Ukrainian commanders decided to postpone the start of the counter-offensive.
"Since we started later, Russia had time to mine all our land and build several lines of defence," the Ukrainian president added.
Earlier, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukraine was approaching a moment when counter-offensive actions could accelerate. He noted that Russia had prepared to defend its positions by mining virtually all the ways our defence forces could advance.
Earlier, Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhnyi addressed all critics of the "too slow advance" in the counter-offensive, pointing out that this is not a show to be watched like a football championship.