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Counteroffensive 'did not achieve desired results,' Zelensky says

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 1, 2023 9:45 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky during his visit to Mykolaiv Oblast on Nov. 29. (President's Office)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine is in a "new phase," President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with the Associated Press published on Dec. 1.

“We have a new phase of war, and that is a fact...winter as a whole is a new phase of war,” he said.

When asked about the counteroffensive, he acknowledged it had not gone as Ukraine had hoped, admitting that it "did not achieve the desired results."

A report by The New York Times on Sept. 28 found that Ukraine had gained about 230 square kilometers since the beginning of the year.

Ukraine is gearing itself for a likely uptick in Russian strikes on its energy infrastructure in what would be a repeat of its tactics the previous winter.

Zelensky says he’s ready to hold elections, but most Ukrainians are against it
In an interview with the Associated Press published on Dec. 1, President Volodymyr Zelensky said he’s ready to hold presidential elections next year, but most Ukrainians think such a vote would be “dangerous and meaningless” in wartime.

From fall 2022 to winter 2023, Russia launched a series of mass strikes across the country, targeting critical infrastructure sites and causing widespread power outages. Local authorities were forced to install power cut schedules to preserve electricity.

Russia launched a record number of drones against Ukraine on Nov. 25, with the primary target being Kyiv.

"That is why a winter war is difficult," Zelensky said.

Despite the setbacks, Zelensky highlighted that Ukraine had managed to make some territorial gains and has successfully attacked Russia's Black Sea Fleet to the point that its strength has been weakened.

"Look, we are not backing down, I am satisfied. We are fighting with the second (best) army in the world, I am satisfied," he said, but at the same emphasized that "We are losing people, I'm not satisfied. We didn't get all the weapons we wanted, I can't be satisfied, but I also can't complain too much."

Zelensky also acknowledged concerns that global attention was shifting toward the conflict between Israel and Hamas, saying that Ukrainians "also need to fight for attention for the full-scale war."

"You see, attention equals help. No attention will mean no help."

Despite this new phase of war, and the difficulties associated with winter, Zelensky said that Ukraine would not give up.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 36 – Is Ukraine losing the war?
Episode #36 is dedicated to the dark new phase in Russia’s war, and why the possibility of losing is once again a risk for Ukraine.
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