Ukraine needs "a bit more time" to launch its much-anticipated counteroffensive as the country is waiting for the delivery of pledged military aid, President Volodymyr Zelensky said, as reported by BBC on May 11.
"With (what we already have), we can go forward, and, I think, be successful," Zelensky said in an interview for public broadcasters such as the BBC. "But we'd lose a lot of people. I think that's unacceptable. So we need to wait."
According to Ukraine's president, combat brigades, some of which were trained by NATO members, are "ready" for the long-awaited counteroffensive. However, the Ukrainian army still needs "some things," particularly armored vehicles, which "arrive in batches."
The outcome of Ukraine's counteroffensive is expected to be a critical turning point in the war that will determine whether Ukraine reclaims more of its territory or is pressured by allies to meet with Russia at the negotiating table.
"Everyone will have an idea," Zelensky said, as cited by the BBC. "(But) they can't pressure Ukraine into surrendering territories. Why should any country of the world give Putin its territory?"
Western supplies of weapons are seen as critical to Ukraine's ability to launch a successful counteroffensive. NATO military commander General Christopher Cavoli said on April 26 that nearly all the combat vehicles promised to Ukraine by NATO allies had been delivered.
Zelensky's statement aligns with Kyiv's recent efforts to lower expectations from the counteroffensive amid speculations the planned breakthrough could be Ukraine's last chance to regain all its territories, at least this year.
"The expectation from our counteroffensive campaign is overestimated in the world," Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told the Washington Post. "Most people are … waiting for something huge," he said, which could lead to "emotional disappointment."
Meanwhile, in an interview with the German newspaper Bild, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urges not to think about Ukraine's expected counteroffensive as the last one "because we don't know what will come out of it."
Kyiv has repeatedly vowed to liberate all Ukrainian territories within the 1991 borders, including the Crimean peninsula as well as parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts occupied since 2014.