Ukraine’s intelligence chief has teased the start of his country’s counteroffensive against Russian aggression, saying that “time cannot be wasted anymore.”
In an interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK, the head of Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, said that Ukrainian forces now had the means to start the liberation of Ukrainian territories currently under Russian control.
“We already have minimum weapons and other equipment stocks in place. I can only say that it will start soon,” Budanov said in comments reported on Tuesday and carried by Ukrainian news outlets. He said that many civilians “are still under Russian occupation,” adding, “time cannot be wasted any more.”
Budanov said that Ukrainian troops do not have the equipment for a prolonged battle and would need significant military equipment to continue the operation. He welcomed the agreement to accelerate the supply of arms struck at the recent G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan.
Budanov also said that Ukraine was blocking “90 percent of the attacks on our military,” but that Russian strikes on logistical hubs and troops under formation had been harming Kyiv’s counteroffensive plans.
His comments come as Ukraine’s Air Force said on Thursday that its air defenses had intercepted all 36 Iranian-made Shahed drones fired overnight. Ukraine’s Southern Command said that three drones over Mykolaiv Oblast and one over Odesa Oblast were destroyed.
Ukraine said that the Russian army had shelled the Kherson region 83 times, leaving at least four people injured.
Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, said on his Telegram channel said that drones were shot down over the Russian-occupied city overnight on Wednesday.
“We need more weapons. And we need fighter jets,” Budanov told NHK, “I hope the international community is really ready to support us.”
The interview with Budanov was conducted on May 19, and there has been speculation and uncertainty over the timing of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, fueled in part by cryptic messaging from Kyiv. In an interview with a separate foreign broadcaster, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said the offensive had, in fact, already started.
“The counteroffensive has been going on for several days,” he told the Italian TV channel Rai 1.
Separately, the commander of the anti-Kremlin Russian Volunteer Corps, which has just conducted a raid on Russia’s Belgorod Oblast bordering Ukraine, said his group would launch more incursions into Russian territory.
After Moscow said that it had repelled the raid, Denis Kapustin told reporters “you will see us again on that side,” adding “yet again there will be a spot where things get hot.”
US. officials are “looking into” reports that American-made military equipment was used by the militia, which Ukraine denies it has any ties with.
Source : Newsweek