Zelenskyy says Ukraine is ready for its counteroffensive but warns that 'a large number of soldiers will die'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen during a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on July 4, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.Alexey Furman/Getty Images
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the WSJ that Ukraine is ready for its counteroffensive.

  • But he warned that Russian air superiority would exact a heavy toll on Ukrainian soldiers.

  • Zelenskyy said he would like to wait for more support from allies but isn't willing to wait "for months."

Ukraine's long-awaited counteroffensive may be near.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told The Wall Street Journal that his country was ready to start re-taking territory from the Russians. "We strongly believe that we will succeed," he told the outlet.

Zelenskyy, who has been campaigning for his allies to provide Ukraine with more weapons — including fighter jets — said he wasn't willing to wait any longer. He then warned that Russia's air superiority would mean heavy losses for Ukraine's troops.

He told the WSJ that he expects that "a large number of soldiers will die."

Russia first invaded Ukraine in February 2022. It quickly took large swaths of the country's eastern territory. But its advances have stalled in the last year. Russian forces were soon bogged down in their effort to take the key eastern city of Bakhmut. Ukraine made it a point to try and hold the city, pouring resources into the effort. That gamble by Ukraine has appeared to pay off.

Russia's military far outmatches Ukraine's. But much of the Russian military equipment is outdated, and soldiers have complained of equipment shortages. Russia has used decades-old tanks and soldiers have said they are relying on Soviet-era gear.

As setbacks mounted for Russia in Bakhmut, the infamous Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary organization, stepped into the fray. It recruited thousands of Russian prisoners, exchanging their freedom for fighting on the frontlines. The arrival of Wagner in Bakhmut created tensions among the various factions of Russian forces.

It's in this context that Ukraine, which has been collecting weapons from its allies for months, will mount its much-anticipated counteroffensive.

Zelenskyy said Ukraine's forces were "stronger and more motivated" than the Russians.

"There is no place for weakness," he told the outlet.

Read the original article on Business Insider