Ukraine’s military is considering different options to "move forward faster" and strike Russia "unexpectedly," President Volodymyr Zelensky told NBC News on Nov. 5.
In response to a question of whether Ukraine was looking at a shift in strategy to try to gain the upper hand in the war, Zelensky said, “Our military is coming up with different plans, with different operations in order to move forward faster and to strike the Russian Federation unexpectedly."
“But bare-handed (this is) impossible to do without weapons, without the proper weapons,” Zelensky said in reference to Ukraine’s lack of necessary military equipment to carry out operations.
During the interview, Zelensky admitted Ukraine's progress had been slow and there was "fatigue" as the war stretched on, but he said Ukraine's military was still more motivated than Russia’s.
The president also rebuffed recent suggestions by Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi that the war had reached an impasse.
In an interview and op-ed published in the Economist on Nov. 1, Zaluzhnyi said that the war was in danger of moving into a "positional" stage, saying the latest stage of the war is characterized by "static and attritional fighting" that will allow Russia to restore its military power.
The commander-in-chief’s interview and op-ed offered a sobering view of the state of the war, including referring to the current situation as a "stalemate” — an assessment the president said during the NBC interview he does not share.
Zaluzhnyi’s comments come five months after the Ukrainian military started its much-anticipated counteroffensive in early June. Focused on several axes in the east and south of the country, the large-scale operation has brought limited gains.
Zelensky repeated his calls for more air defense systems and drones from the allies. Ukraine has started producing some drones but needs more, he said. Ukrainians would find it difficult to "step forward" without such help, Zelensky said, insisting on the importance of Western support to prevent Russia from destroying Ukraine.
"If Russia will kill all of us, they will attack NATO countries, and you will send your sons and daughters. And it will be — I’m sorry, but the price will be higher," he said.
"It’s very important not to lose the will, not to lose this strong position, and not to lose your democracy," Zelensky said.
He also accused Russia of sponsoring Hamas, adding that the "whole world should do all they can to stop this (Israel-Hamas) war" in Gaza.