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Ukraine’s top general, Valeri Zaluzhnyi, wants shells, planes and patience – WP

General Valeri Zaluzhnyi, the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in his office in Kyiv, Ukraine, on 28 June 2023. Photo: Oksana Parafeniuk/The Washington Post.

For Ukraine’s counteroffensive to progress faster, the country needs more of every weapon, including Western fighter jets, the Ukrainian Army’s Commander-in-Chief, Gen. Valery Zaluzhnyi, told The Washington Post.

“Zaluzhny expressed frustration that while his biggest Western backers would never launch an offensive without air superiority, Ukraine still has not received modern fighter jets but is expected to rapidly take back territory from the occupying Russians. American-made F-16s, promised only recently, are not likely to arrive until the fall — in a best-case scenario,” WP wrote.

According to analysts, the main thrust of Ukraine’s counteroffensive has not been launched yet, and many of the country’s newly-raised forces are still not committed to the front line. Ukraine claims to have liberated over 130 square kilometers over the first weeks of the counteroffensive, but its attacks still may be probing for weak spots in Russia’s defenses.

Zaluzhnyi says the Ukrainian troops have been outshot tenfold at times because of limited resources, although they should be firing at least as many artillery shells as the Russians.

“Without being fully supplied, these plans are not feasible at all,” he said. “But they are being carried out. Yes, maybe not as fast as the participants in the show, the observers, would like, but that is their problem.”

The Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief also highlighted the military doctrines of NATO and Russia, both calling for air superiority before launching ground-based deep-reaching operations. He says that a limited number of Western fighter jets would be enough for Ukraine:

“Because there is no other way. Because the enemy is using a different generation of aviation. It’s like we’d go on the offensive with bows and arrows now,” he said.

Last week, President Zelenskyy warned of a potential “terrorist act with the release of radiation” by Russian forces at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest atomic power station. Also, one worst-case scenario Zaluzhnyi must consider is the threat that Russia might deploy a nuclear weapon.

The Wahington Post asked General Zaluzhnyi if that gives him pause from trying to regain control of the nuclear plant during the counteroffensive, he replied:

“It doesn’t stop me at all,” Zaluzhny said. “We are doing our job. All these signals come from outside for some reason: ‘Be afraid of a nuclear strike.’ Well, should we give up?”

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