In his interview for the RBC outlet, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said that expectations of a counteroffensive “are overheated.” Both Ukrainian society and the West have overheated expectations, the Minister said, because, in any case, this war is a marathon and is not going to end in a matter of days or weeks. Also, when the counteroffensive begins, nobody will know about it.
“This is not a sprint distance. This is not a 100-meter, not a 60-meter, or a 30-meter. When I realized that this is not a sprint, but a marathon, then I said to myself – wait, in order to run the last 195 meters of the marathon distance, you have to hold on for 42 kilometers before that,” Reznikov said.
Ukrainian Minister of Defense also denied statements that Russia is allegedly running out of ammunition:
“We have information that they are running around the market asking for shells, counting in advance. They have crazy resources, of course, and I wouldn’t give the good news that they’re out of ammunition and we’re going to win tomorrow. No, unfortunately, there are a lot of them. They shoot without thinking. A tactic of сontant artillery fire is used. Therefore, they try to find shells somewhere and use old ones from warehouses. [Together with] North Korea and Iran, they are now partners.“
Speaking about Ukrainian needs, the Minister said that the top three requests are air defense, ammunition for all systems, and “armor fist,” which includes tanks and armored vehicles of various classes. These are three priorities that do not exclude everything else.
The topic of Western aircraft has not yet moved into the practical details on the last Ramstein meeting on 21 April 2023, but the Minister of Defense is confident: this issue will also be resolved.
Only Ukraine will decide when the time comes for real talks about peace. It will happen when Russia is ready to leave all Ukrainian territories it occupied after 2014, withdrawing behind the internationally recognized borders of 1991. Only this outcome will guarantee lasting peace for the next generations of Ukrainians.
We don’t need a facilitator. We can manage without a facilitator, Reznikov said, answering the question about recent proposals from France and China regarding negotiations. Ukraine will decide: “We want the Americans, the British, the French, the Germans, the Turks, the Poles to sit down at our [negotiating] table [with Russians],” the Minister said.
As was reported, Ukrainian soldiers noted numerous times the lack of artillery and heavy weapons ammunition to counter Russian attacks and conduct successful counteroffensive operations. So far, the EU has managed to deliver only 40,000 artillery rounds out of the 1 million promised for 2023 due to internal disagreements. Yet, Minister Reznikov remained confident that these issues will be solved, referring to the agreements they discussed in the last Ramstein meeting on 21 April 2023.