Russia & Former Soviet Union

Сounteroffensive can start at any moment – Ukrainian official

The upcoming assault is a “historic opportunity” that Kiev “cannot lose,” the head of national security told the BBC

FILE PHOTO. ©  Global Look Press / Presidential Office of

Ukrainian forces are “ready” to launch their much-touted counteroffensive, the head of the National Security and Defense Council told the BBC in an interview on Saturday. Aleksey Danilov said the military top brass are now waiting for the right moment to launch the attack.

“It could happen tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or in a week,” Danilov answered when pressed about a potential start of the counteroffensive, which Kiev has been talking about for months.

A major assault was initially expected to start in spring or even late winter, but Kiev repeatedly postponed it, citing adverse weather conditions and the need to obtain all necessary weapons and equipment from western backers.

Danilov said it would have been “weird” for him to reveal the exact date, as “that cannot be done.” He described the planned attack as a “historic opportunity” that his nation “cannot lose” if it wants to become a “big European country.”

Read more Ukrainian officials send mixed signals on counteroffensive

“We understand that we have no right to make a mistake,” he added.

In April, The New York Times reported that Ukraine’s Western supporters might start to pressure Kiev into launching talks with Moscow should the much-anticipated offensive fail to yield any major gains.

Kiev has been sending mixed signals on the counteroffensive. Earlier this week, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s aide, Mikhail Podoliak, told Italy’s Rai TV channel that it “has been going on for several days”. However, on Thursday, another presidential advisor, Igor Zhovkva, contradicted that statement, saying Ukrainian forces were still preparing for the operation.

Read more No peace talks ‘on Russian terms’ – Kiev

Danilov denied the offensive had already begun, claiming that Ukrainian strikes against Russian “control centers” and “military equipment” were just routine operations.

Danilov’s remarks came as Russia outlined its conditions for ending the conflict with Ukraine. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin told TASS on Saturday that Kiev should abandon the idea of joining NATO and the EU, guarantee the rights of minorities, and declare Russian a state language.

Ukraine must also recognize the “new territorial realities,” the high-ranking diplomat said, referring to four former Ukrainian territories that joined Russia following referendums in autumn 2022, as well as Crimea, which reunited with Russia in 2014 following another referendum.

However, Danilov stated earlier in May that there could be no peace talks “on Russia’s terms.”

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