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800 days into war, Zelenskyy says Ukraine faces new phase as Russia readies offensive

Ukrainian intelligence confirms that Russia is now focused on seizing the Donbas first, then potentially assaulting Kharkiv and Sumy oblasts.
800 days into war, Zelenskyy says Ukraine faces new phase as Russia readies offensive
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during an awards ceremony for border guards in Khmelnytskyi Oblast, 3 May. Photo:
800 days into war, Zelenskyy says Ukraine faces new phase as Russia readies offensive

As the war in Ukraine enters its 800th day, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warns of a new stage in the conflict, with Russia preparing to launch a fresh offensive. During an awards ceremony for border guards on Ukraine’s Border Guard Service Day, Zelenskyy emphasized the challenges the nation has faced and the need for unity.

In April, Zelenskyy warned that Russia aims to seize the strategically vital city of Chasiv Yar in Donetsk by the symbolic date of 9 May, followed by a counteroffensive in June.

“We are now facing a new stage in the war. The occupier is preparing to expand offensive actions. Together – Ukrainians, our warriors, our state, our partners, – we must do everything to thwart Russia’s offensive plans,” he said.

Ukrainian intelligence confirms Russia’s intentions, with Major-General Vadym Skibitskyi, the deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, revealing that the Kremlin’s primary goals are the complete occupation of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Russia also aims to capture the strategically important city of Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region by 9 May, which marks Hitler’s defeat in WWII.

Moreover, Skibitskyi suggests that Russia could be preparing for an offensive in the northeastern regions of Kharkiv and Sumy, although they may lack sufficient forces to capture the cities. The main Russian offensive is expected to begin “at the end of May or the beginning of June.”

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