Ukraine says it has weapons to launch counter-assault

STORY: "We received enough weapons to begin the counter-offensive..."

In an exclusive interview with Reuters in Kyiv, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said his country now has enough weaponry to launch an anticipated counter-offensive against Russian forces occupying swaths of territory in the country's east.

But he was careful to say that having enough to launch an operation was not the same has having supplies to complete it.

"When you go on the counter-offensive, one thing is to have enough of weapons to begin it, but another thing is to ensure sustainability of supplies in order to be able to continue as long as is needed."

Western nations have sent artillery, tanks and ammunition to Kyiv ahead of an expected spring campaign. Ukraine has been silent about when and where it might strike.

Moscow on Monday released this footage which it claimed showed its forces thwarting a major offensive in eastern Ukraine. The grainy images purport to show Ukrainian armored vehicles coming under attack.

Russia's defense ministry said Ukraine had attacked on Sunday morning with six mechanized and two tank battalions in southern Donetsk, where Moscow has long suspected Ukraine would seek to drive a wedge through Russian-controlled territory.

But Ukrainian officials dismissed the report and said the Ukrainian military had advanced elsewhere along the front line. The Ukrainian military shared this video on Monday showing its soldiers and tanks firing at what Kyiv said were Russian positions near the city of Bakhmut.

It was unclear whether the attacks represented the start of long-heralded counteroffensive against Russia's invasion.

Over the weekend Ukraine's defense ministry released this video calling for silence about the operation.

"As the Ministry of Defence I think stated yesterday, there will be no announcement."

Kuleba declined to say anything further about tactical matters, but he said that a Ukrainian victory might pave the way for NATO membership.

JOURNALIST: "Do you think that this counteroffensive will be the victory needed for NATO membership?"

KULEBA: "Yes... They told me I have to be short in answers."

JOURNALIST: "Any kind of follow-up on that, why?"

KULEBA: "Oh, because the more successful we are on the battleground, the easier it gets to get certain decisions done."

The success or failure of the counteroffensive, expected to be waged with billions of dollars worth of advanced Western weaponry, is likely to influence the shape of future Western diplomatic and military support for Ukraine.