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Latest news and news from Russia’s war in Ukraine
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Latest news and news from Russia’s war in Ukraine

Ukraine says ‘main blow’ of counteroffensive is yet to come, rejects ‘premature’ assessments

Ukrainian servicemen from the 57th brigade fire a BM-21 “Grad” multiple rocket launcher at Russian positions on a front line near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region (Donetsk June 20. Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine’s “main blow” in its counter-offensive is yet to come and some reserves are still being held back in the fighting, a senior Ukrainian defense command official told state television on Friday.

“We still have important events ahead of us, and the main blow is still to come,” said Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar. “In fact, part of the reserves will be deployed afterwards.”

“Every day we are making progress. Every day. Yes, it is gradual, but our troops are gaining a foothold on these lines and they are moving forward with confidence,” Maliar said.

Russia, for its part, is reinforcing its forces along the front, “sending airborne assault units south and east”, and the Russian reserves – recently moved to the east – had so far only failed to “try to break through” the Ukrainian lines, Maliar said.

“While our defense forces are carrying out offensive actions in the south, the enemy has reinforced in the east and moved their reserves there… They have pushed their reserves and tried to break through our defense there” , Maliar said. “For a week and a half we have had very fierce fighting in the Kupiansk and Lyman regions, but our armed forces have stopped the enemy.”
Maliar claimed that this “large-scale” Russian offensive had caused “enormous” losses to the enemy and was “now stopped”.

Managing expectations: Ukrainian officials stressed this week that their counteroffensive – which Western officials told CNN “falls short of expectations” – will take time, with the prime minister urging patience and the president Volodymyr Zelensky warning the allies not to see him. the goal of a “Hollywood movie”.

Maliar said offensive operations were “going as planned”, adding that it was “premature to make assessments now”.

“You shouldn’t expect the offensive to be something very fast, that you start with one, finish with two and have liberated one or more regions while everything everyone was having lunch. It won’t work that way,” he said.

Russia mined the southern front, he said, which “definitely slows the pace”.