Former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that the expected counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will begin in the coming days, it will not have to wait for many months. He stated this in an interview published on May 18 in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
“We are going to attack at different points,” Poroshenko said, adding that the Russian authorities do not know exactly where, and they do not have the forces and means to control the thousand kilometers of the line of contact.
However, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday at a meeting with participants in a meeting of the Council of the CSTO Parliamentary Assembly called the upcoming counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine disinformation.
“The biggest misinformation is this “counterattack”. From my point of view, there is no “counterattack” and there cannot be. It’s just crazy. One to five at the front to fight on equipment and manpower is just crazy! No, it is necessary to escalate, it is necessary to wind up the Ukrainians in order to continue and drown us in this confrontation. This is the essence of the front today,” Lukashenka said.
At the same time, he called on the parties to return to negotiations. According to the Belarusian president, it is necessary to develop a new document on a peace agreement, and not start from the proposals that were made during several rounds of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations last spring.
According to Lukashenka, last spring Moscow was ready to conclude peace with Kiev, despite the unfavorable conditions for itself, but the draft of such an agreement was buried.
“Three rounds have passed in Belarus. Then it didn’t feel like Zelensky was cramped, or something else – Well, let’s go to Turkey. A draft treaty was placed on the table. If Russia were reading it now, it would go crazy. It was absolutely unprofitable for Russia. But Russia agreed. And as soon as Russia agreed to peace initiatives, the treaty, the project was thrown into the trash,” the head of state explained.
At the same time, the Acting Governor of the Zaporozhye region expressed the opinion on the air of the Rossiya 24 TV channel that Ukraine had missed the opportunity for a successful counter-offensive in the Zaporozhye direction.
“With a high degree of probability, they lost their chance to do this in the fall. If we talk about the enemy’s readiness for a counteroffensive today, then we see that it is quite low,” the head of the region said.
He noted that the Russian army had been preparing for a possible attack since last autumn and had accumulated strength to repel any offensive. Balitsky called attempts to attack such powerful fortifications madness.
The counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has become the main topic of the armed conflict in Ukraine since December 2022. In winter, Kyiv announced that the operation was scheduled for April-May 2023, when warm weather sets in and heavy equipment can pass. Later, the Ukrainian authorities said that the counteroffensive was being postponed until May-June due to delays in the supply of foreign weapons and equipment – primarily Leopard tanks, armored support vehicles, and ammunition.
Since the beginning of May, the Russian side has said several times that the counter-offensive has already begun. This was stated by the founder of PMC “Wagner” Yevgeny Prigozhin, and Russian military correspondents. However, later the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation denied this information.
In Kiev, they argued that the increased attacks on Russian territories using drones in recent weeks, Storm Shadow missile strikes, sabotage of Russian infrastructure facilities, as well as the intensification of fighting in Artemovsk are all elements of preparation for a counteroffensive.
On May 11, in an interview with the BBC, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that the brigades of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are ready for the offensive, but the army still needs some additional help from the West. In particular, we are talking about armored vehicles, the deliveries of which are carried out in batches.
Four days later, on May 15, during a visit to the UK, Zelensky said that Ukraine needed some more time to finalize preparations for the operation.
“We really need time, not very much. We’ll be ready in a while. I cannot share the details with you. We must prepare,” the head of state said.