Zelensky Claims Western-Supplied Artillery Has Helped ‘Break’ Moscow’s Military Offensive
Ukraine and the West harbor doubts about the Russian withdrawal from Kherson announced on Wednesday by Kremlin Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, after analyzing the difficulties faced by his troops shown in the report presented by the commander in chief of the Army, General Sergei Surovikin. “The art of war includes the art of deceiving the enemy. We do not trust the words of Russia,” Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar alleged on Thursday. NATO also doubts. Its general secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, pointed out that, if the withdrawal is really confirmed, it would be “another victory for Ukraine”.
What is clear is that the kyiv Army is gaining ground in the region that was the greatest success for Moscow from practically the beginning of the war. During the last day, Volodímir Zelenski’s troops have regained control of twelve towns in Kherson, which adds up to a total of 41 settlements since last day 1. The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Valeri Zaluzhni, explained that they have advanced seven kilometers in each of the directions, “liberating” territories in more than 200 square kilometers. “These advances are due to the courage of the Ukrainian soldiers,” Stoltenberg said.
“We continue the offensive operation according to our plan,” Zaluzhni stressed, before stressing that kyiv “cannot confirm or deny the information” about the Russian withdrawal. In this sense, he explained that «behind each so-called ‘goodwill gesture’ by the enemy there are colossal efforts by our troops. Just as the enemy withdrew from kyiv and Kharkov, leaving an island in Zmini, so the likely withdrawal from Kherson is the result of our active actions.’
In this way, the commander continued, the Armed Forces destroyed the logistics routes and support systems and “altered the invaders’ control system,” so that “the enemy has had no other option than to flee,” he settled. The ISW military analysis center, for its part, considered it unlikely that the announcement of the withdrawal was a maneuver by Moscow and stated that it had recently verified “a constant withdrawal of Russian forces, military and economic resources and elements of the occupation » to the eastern bank of the Dnieper.
no intention of leaving
This second withdrawal in two months – they first withdrew from the northeastern part of the country – could be due to a strategic decision to regroup their troops, Zelenski said, although “they are not prepared to leave the city” and suggested that the Kremlin intends to defend Kherson, despite the announcement of the withdrawal. Russia, for its part, announced on Thursday the start of a series of “preparation” military maneuvers on the western bank of the Dnieper.
On the other hand, the Ukrainian president stated that Moscow has lost “ten times” more soldiers than kyiv since the invasion began on February 24. How has this “so significant difference” occurred? Zelenski underlined his refusal to treat the population as “cannon fodder”, which in his opinion explains the dissimilarity in casualty figures. “When we ask our partners for artillery or armored vehicles, it is not only for weapons, but to protect our military,” argued the political leader.
To achieve this goal, the contribution of the West has been key. Zelenski assured that the artillery delivered by the United States and European countries – Spain will send two additional ‘Hawk’ missile launchers to the four already delivered, as announced by the Ministry of Defense on Thursday – has helped his Army to “break” the military offensive Russian. And his efforts are not over. “We have a strategy and different directions,” the president argued in an interview with CNN, in which he added that the Pentagon’s estimates that Russia has already lost 50% of its combat tanks “corresponds more or less to reality”.
Experts say that Moscow could soon lose control of the Kakjovka dam on the Dnieper River, which is strategic for supplying Crimea with water. In addition, they warn that from the recently recovered city of Kherson, Ukrainian forces could even directly attack the peninsula annexed in 2014 with their long-range artillery.
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