Ukraine, Kiev announces spring counter-offensive: ‘We will use Leopards’

The Ukrainian army could launch a counter-offensive before the summer, the armed forces of Kiev will attack in different directions also using German Leopards at the front: this was announced by Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov in an interview with Err, after the hypothesis of a counterattack close to spring had circulated in recent weeks. You will see the Leopards “in counterattack by decision of our General Staff”, he said, adding that “the counter-offensive has already been planned in several directions. It depends on what is the best moment, on how the commanders will decide”. The defense minister said he believes “that already this year the world will see very positive changes for Ukraine” and affirmed that the planning of the counter-offensive by the General Staff Ukrainian also depends a lot on the weather conditions: “In spring we have very wet ground. Only tracked vehicles can be used. I think the right time could be around April-May”, Reznikov told Estonian channel Err. According to the defense attorney, for Ukrainian fighters, after the Soviet weapons the Leopards can be compared to a Mercedes after having only Ziguli available (the famous cars produced by the Russian Lada-Vaz since 1970 starting from the Fiat 124 model) .

“Russia’s hybrid warfare with hostile countries will last a long time.” This was stated by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov quoted by Interfax. “This hybrid war that they have unleashed against our country will last for a long time. And here – added Peskov – we need firmness, trust, concentration and unity around the president”. “We will continue to defend the interests of our athletes in every possible way,” Peskov also said. “We will continue contacts with the International Olympic Committee precisely to protect the interests of our athletes,” added the spokesman, quoted by Tass.

And the Russian president Putin admits sanctions may have ‘negative effect’ on Russian economy, so ‘work on domestic demand’ needed.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Serghei Ryabkov today mocked the US announcement that it intends to support the idea of ​​creating a special court to prosecute Russia for the “crime of aggression”, an idea promoted by the EU. “They’ve been toying with this tsatskaya for a long time,” Ryabkov said, using a Russian word meaning ‘toy’ or ‘trinket’. “Let them have fun,” added Ryabkov, quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency. Russia’s plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus must “lead NATO to assess the seriousness of the current situation,” Ryabkov also said quoted by Interfax. Furthermore, according to Ryabkov, the US “does not have the right to refuse to supply Russia with the data required by the New Start treaty on the limitation of nuclear weapons every six months”. And he adds that, to refuse, Washington would have to suspend its participation or withdraw from the treaty. Yesterday American sources quoted by the Wall Street Journal said that the US intended to interrupt the exchange of data in response to Moscow’s decision to suspend participation in New Start.

All stated goals of the special military operation will be achieved “despite increased military assistance to Ukraine from the West”: this was stated by the secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev, during a meeting with his counterparts from the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in New Delhi. “We will complete the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine and ensure the territorial integrity of Russia and the security of our population,” Patrushev said, as reported by Tass.

Meanwhile Volodymyr Zelensky has invited Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Kiev: Zelensky himself made it known in an exclusive interview with the AP news agency published online. “We are ready to see him here,” said the Ukrainian president in an interview on board a train during one of his trips around the country. “I want to talk to him – he added -. I had contact with him before the large-scale war. But during all this year, more than a year, I have had no (contact).” “The United States really understands that if they stop helping us, we won’t win.” The President of Ukraine said he fears the war could be influenced by the shift of political forces to Washington. Zelensky is aware, AP reports after the lengthy interview, that his country’s success has been largely due to waves of international military support, particularly from the United States and Western Europe. But some in the US, including Republican Donald Trump, the former US president and current 2024 candidate, have questioned whether Washington should continue to provide Ukraine with billions of dollars in military aid. Trump’s likely Republican rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, also suggested that defending Ukraine in a “territorial dispute” with Russia was not a significant US national security priority. He later retracted that statement following criticism from other fringes of the GOP. Zelensky didn’t mention Trump or other Republican politicians, figures he might have to contend with if they prevail in the 2024 election.

A gas pipeline in the Russian city of Belgorod was attacked this week by a drone launched from Ukrainian territory, Russian news site Baza reported on Telegram, as reported by RBC-Ukraine. There were no casualties. According to Baza, the attack took place on the evening of March 27 and the drone was launched from Vovchansk, in the Kharkiv region, which is 7 kilometers from the border with Russia. The drone was equipped with an improvised explosive device and attacked the Gazenergoseti gas pumping station in Belgorod. “Fragments of an explosive device damaged an empty gas tank with a capacity of 30,000 liters, as well as a gas pipeline. There were no casualties,” Russian media said.

The mercenaries of the Wagner Group have conquered about 65% of the city of Bakhmut, in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk: the Institute for the study of war (ISW) says in its daily report on the progress of the conflict, as reported by Kyiv independent. In the last seven days, the group’s forces have gained another 5% of the city, the US research center points out, underlining that they probably also took control of the Azom industrial complex in the northern part of Bakhmut.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Russia’s Wagner private militia, said he thought it was “unfair” to sentence a man to two years in prison for “discrediting” the army after his 12-year-old daughter made an anti-war drawing at school. In an appeal sent to the prosecutor of the Tula region, published today on his Telegram channels, Prigozhin asks to review the sentence of Alexei Moskalev, “especially due to the fact that his daughter Masha will be forced to grow up in an orphanage”. The child lived alone with her father, who is now on the run.

THE DEPORTED UKRAINIAN CHILDREN – There are 19,514 Ukrainian children illegally deported to Russia: this is what emerges from the latest update published by the Ukrainian Ministry of Reintegration on the state website ‘Children of War’: the national media reported it. To this figure must be added the 4,390 orphaned children, with only one parent or without parental care who, according to the same ministry – as announced yesterday – are in the occupied territories or in Russia. To date, only 327 children have been repatriated to Ukraine.

At least 465 children have been killed in Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion by Russian forces: this is what emerges from the data provided by the juvenile prosecutor’s office, according to Kyiv Independent reports. At the same time, the toll of injured children has risen to at least 943.

A large-scale Strategic Missile Forces exercise began today in Russia. This was announced by the Moscow Defense Ministry quoted by the local media, specifying that the maneuvers involve over 3,000 soldiers. The exercise will involve in particular the Omsk and Novosibirsk missile formations, equipped with Yars mobile launchers. The maneuvers will take place on the territory of three unspecified Russian regions.

Canada will extend a C$2.4 billion (over €1.6 billion) loan to Ukraine in the next financial year to help shore up Kiev’s finances. The international media report it. The measure is contained in the latest federal budget presented yesterday in Parliament by Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland. The new loan for Ukraine will be distributed through the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It builds on Canada’s previous tax aid to Ukraine, intended to offset the economic devastation caused by Russia’s full-scale invasion. Kiev has so far received $5.4 billion (€3.66 billion) in Canadian aid, including more than 1 billion in military aid.

Source: Ansa

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