Ukraine can prepare for counteroffensive if frontline stabilized – Zelenskyy

President of Ukraine Zelenskyy inspected new fortifications for the Ukrainian military in Sumy Oblast
President of Ukraine Zelenskyy inspected new fortifications for the Ukrainian military in Sumy Oblast

Ukraine could prepare for a new counteroffensive in 2024 if the front situation remains stable, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview with The Washington Post on March 29.

Ukraine can arm and train new brigades in the rear to conduct a new counteroffensive, he said.

"If you are not taking steps forward to prepare another counteroffensive, Russia will take them," Zelenskyy said.

"That’s what we learned in this war: If you don’t do it, Russia will do it."

The president discussed the program for a domestically produced “army of drones, including some that can reach 1,000 kilometers or more into Russia,” but cautioned that “drones are not enough for winning the war."

"We could use naval drones to push their fleet out of our territorial waters and the entire western part of the Black Sea, yes," Zelenskyy said.

"But it’s not enough to win. These are drones, not missiles."

Read also: Positional war ongoing, too early to talk about slowing Russian offensive, says Ukrainian commander

It looks increasingly likely that Russia will launch a new major offensive early in the summer, and Ukraine's ability to deter it this time looks "much less sure," The Economist wrote on March 27.

The U.S.-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote that the Russian forces are likely to continue offensive operations through Spring 2024 while preparing for an expected offensive effort in Summer 2024.

Russia is creating a new armed force consisting of more than 100,000 people, which means that a summer offensive can not be ruled out, Ground Forces commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Oleksandr Pavlyuk, said on March 22.

Read also: Ukraine enters new phase of war with inadequate fortifications and manpower shortages – WSJ

The Russian publication Verstka, citing sources, reported that the Russian military command hopes to "conduct an offensive operation to encircle Kharkiv" in the future by increasing the number of troops. ISW analysts said that such an operation would pose serious problems both for the Russian forces responsible for the operation and for the broader Russian campaign in Ukraine, and there are no signs of its preparation yet.

Ukrainian troops lack ammunition, and Ukraine is beginning to prepare brigades for important actions. Zelenskyy said in an interview with CBS. Russia will prepare its offensive at the end of May or June, he said.

Read also: Ukraine's FM Kuleba stresses crucial need for air defense systems at frontlines

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