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“We are ready to start the counteroffensive” – ​​Ukraine – BBC News World

  • By James Landale
  • Diplomatic correspondent, Kyiv

Ukraine is ready to launch its long-awaited counter-offensive against Russian forces, one of the country’s top security officials has told the BBC.

Oleksiy Danilov did not name a date, but said an assault to retake the territory from President Vladimir Putin’s occupying forces could start “tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or within a week.”

He warned that the Ukrainian government “has no right to make a mistake” in the decision because it is a “historic opportunity” that “we cannot miss.”

As secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Mr. Danilov is at the heart of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s de facto war cabinet.

His rare interview with the BBC was interrupted by a phone message from President Zelensky summoning him to a meeting to discuss the counter-offensive.

Danilov also said he was “absolutely calm” about Russia starting to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus, saying: “For us, it’s not news at all.”

Ukraine has been planning a counteroffensive for months. But it has wanted as much time as possible to train troops and receive military equipment from Western allies.

The stakes are high because the Kiev government needs to show the people of Ukraine – and the Western allies – that it can break through Russian lines, end the effective military stalemate and retake part of its sovereign territory.

Danilov said the armed forces would begin the assault when the commanders calculated that “we can have the best result at that point in the war.”

Asked if the Ukrainian armed forces were ready for the offensive, he replied: “We are always ready. The same as we were ready to defend our country at any moment. And it is not a matter of time.”

“We have to understand that this historic opportunity that is given to our country, by God, cannot be lost, so that we can truly become a great independent European country.”

He added: “It could happen tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or a week from now.

“It would be strange for me to name the start dates of that or those events. That cannot be done… We have a very responsible task before our country. And we understand that we have no right to be wrong”.

image source, fake images


Ukrainian troops have spent months training with Western equipment ahead of the expected attack.

Danilov rejected suggestions that the counteroffensive had already begun, saying that “demolishing Russian control centers and Russian military equipment” had been the task of the Ukrainian armed forces since February 24 last year, the date Russia launched the invasion.

“We don’t have days off during this war,” he said.

He defended the decision of the Ukrainian army to fight in Bakhmut for so many months, a battle that has cost the lives of many of its soldiers.

“Bakhmut is our land, our territory, and we must defend it,” he said. “If we start to abandon all the settlements, that could lead us to our western border as Putin wanted since the first days of the war.”

He said that “we control only a small part of the city, and we admit it. But you have to keep in mind that Bakhmut has played an important role in this war.”

Asked if Wagner’s mercenaries were leaving, he replied: “Yes, that is happening. But that doesn’t mean they will stop fighting with us. They are going to concentrate more on other fronts… they are regrouping on three other fronts. places”.

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