He again pointed out that the counter-offensive could only be started later than planned because ammunition, weapons and properly trained units were lacking. This gave Russia more time to strengthen its defense lines.
But a shift on the front is imminent, said Zelenskyy, who was connected via video line at the Aspen Safety Forum, with confidence. “We are approaching a point where relevant actions can gain momentum because we have already breached minefields in some places and are now clearing them.” At the same time, Zelenskyy repeated his call for more long-range missiles and modern fighters.
The development of the counter-offensive is “the question that is on everyone’s mind right now”, stressed Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, according to the Financial Times. US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stressed that progress will only be judged when Ukraine mobilizes all its forces for the counter-offensive. At the same time, Sullivan took issue with Ukraine over the importance of F-16 fighters to the course of the war. Because of strong air defenses on both sides, fighters would not play a central role, according to Sullivan.
What chances does the Kiev offensive have?
Explosion at an ammunition depot in Crimea
Meanwhile, fighting in eastern and southern Ukraine continues unabated. However, there is almost no current, even partially reliable information from these scenes. According to Russian authorities, an ammunition depot on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, annexed by Russia, caught fire as a result of a Ukrainian drone strike. According to initial findings, there were no deaths or injuries, Moscow Governor Sergei Aksjonov said on Saturday. For security reasons, the evacuation of neighboring towns and the cessation of rail traffic were ordered.
The incident took place in the Krasnogvardeysk district, north of Simferopol, in the central part of Crimea. Videos documenting a massive fire are making the rounds on social media. Detonations can also be heard in some videos. At first there was talk of an attack on a fuel depot.
Earlier it became known that the bridge to Crimea had been temporarily closed – despite the vehicles on the bridge. The suspension may have been related to the attacks.
Attacks on the territory of Donbass
At least eight people were killed in a Russian airstrike in the Donbass region. It is feared that the number of victims will continue to rise. Russia, on the other hand, accuses Ukraine of firing cluster munitions into Russian territory near the border.
Zelenskyy: legitimate target of the Crimean bridge
Zelenskyi had previously described the bridge connecting the Crimean peninsula to Russia as a legitimate military target. “This is the route used to supply ammunition for war, and it happens every day. This will militarize the Crimean Peninsula,” Zelensky told the security conference.
Explosions on the Crimean bridge on Monday killed two civilians and damaged part of the bridge, which has only recently regained full use after it was severely damaged in a similar attack in October. While Ukraine welcomed the attack, it did not claim direct responsibility.
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Several killed in Russian attacks
According to Ukrainian authorities, at least eight people were killed and others were wounded in nighttime Russian attacks in eleven regions.
At least four people were killed in an air strike on the village of Nju-Jork in the Donbass region last night. Two civilians were killed by rocket fire in the town of Kostiantynivka in the Donetsk region. In addition, 20 houses, several cars and a gas line were destroyed. Two other people were killed near the northern city of Chernihiv, about 100 kilometers from the Russian border. A rocket hit a cultural center.
According to Ukrainian sources, three civilians were injured in the bombing of Nikopol, a town close to the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. Kiev has repeatedly accused Moscow of using the nuclear power plant site to bomb nearby areas held by the Ukrainian army.
Russian allegations of use of cluster munitions
Meanwhile, the governor of the Russian border region of Belgorod accused Ukraine of using cluster munitions on Russian territory. Both sides have used cluster munitions since the beginning of the war – their use on Russian territory would be new. On Friday, the Ukrainian army fired “21 artillery shells and three rounds of cluster munitions in Zhuravlevka near the border,” regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov told Telegram on Saturday. Ammunition was fired from a multiple rocket launcher.