Ukraine is ready to launch its long-awaited counter-offensive against Russian forces, a top Ukrainian security official told the BBC.
Oleksiy Danilov He did not give a date, but said the assault to retake territory taken by President Vladimir Putin’s occupying forces could begin.”tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or in a week”.
LOOK: The fear that still reigns in Laos, “the most bombed country in history”
He warned that the Ukrainian government “has no right to make a mistake” with this decision because it was a “historic opportunity” that “we cannot miss”.
As secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Danilov is at the very center of the de facto cabinet of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
His rare interview with the BBC was interrupted by a phone message from President Zelensky summoning him for a meeting to discuss the counter-offensive.
During the interview, he also confirmed that some of the forces of the Wagner mercenary group were withdrawing from the city of Bakhmutthe focus of the bloodiest battle so far in the war, but added that they were “regrouping in three other locations” and “does not mean they will stop fighting us.”
Danilov said he was “completely calm” about the start of moving nuclear weapons to Belarus, commenting: “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 its troops and receive military equipment from its Western allies.
Meanwhile, Russian forces have been preparing their defenses.
“We are always ready”
The stakes are high because the government in Kyiv needs to show the Ukrainian people, and the Western allies, that it can break through the Russian front, break the military stalemate and recapture its sovereign territory.
Danilov pointed out that the armed forces he would begin the assault as soon as the commanders calculated “at what point in the war we would obtain the best results”.
Asked if the Ukrainian armed forces were ready for the offensive, he replied: “We are always ready. The same way we were ready to defend our country at any time. And it’s not a matter of time“, he assured.
“We have to understand that this historic opportunity that has been given to us, by God, we cannot miss it, so that we can truly be a great, independent European country.”
And he added: “It could happen tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or in a week.”
“It would be strange if you were giving start dates for this or other events. That cannot be done… We have a responsibility to our country to carry out a great task. And we understand that we don’t have the right to make a mistake.”
Danilov dismissed the suggestion that the counteroffensive had already begun, stating that “the destruction of Russian control centers and Russian military equipment” has been the task of the Ukrainian armed forces since February 24 last year, when Russia launched its invasion. .
“We don’t have days off during this war,” he said.
Also defended the decision of the Ukrainian army to fight in Bakhmut for so many monthsa battle that has claimed the lives of many of its soldiers.
“Bajmut is our land, our territory, and we must defend it,” he said. “If we start leaving every town, we would end up on our western border, which is what Putin wanted from the first days of the war.”
He said that “we control only a small part of the city, and we recognize that. But you have to keep in mind that Bakhmut has played an important role in this war.”
As for the Wagner mercenaries coming out, he replied: “Yes, that is happening. But it does not mean that they will stop fighting us. They are going to concentrate more on other fronts… they are regrouping at three other locations.”
I am Jack Morton and I work in 24 News Recorder. I mostly cover world news and I have also authored 24 news recorder. I find this work highly interesting and it allows me to keep up with current events happening around the world.