Ukrainian counteroffensive might last for ‘weeks, even months’ – Macron

Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian forces will be a lengthy operation, with Kiev getting more deliveries of Western weapons and ammunition in the coming days and weeks, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday.

He made the statement during a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish President Andrzej Duda at the Élysée Palace in Paris. The trio of EU and NATO leaders gathered to discuss future security guarantees for Ukraine in the run-up to the NATO summit in July.

“The counteroffensive has started. It’s going to be deployed for several weeks and even months. We are supporting it within the limits that we set ourselves,” Macron said.

The French president said he and his counterparts wanted Kiev’s operation to be “as victorious as possible so that we can then start a period of negotiations in good conditions.”

There’ll be more deliveries of weapons, including armored vehicles, and ammunition to Ukraine “over the coming days and weeks,” Macron promised.

Duda expressed his belief that with Western support “the counteroffensive will be successful,” ending in “the ousting of Russian military forces from all occupied territories.”  

“We have taken decisions to support Ukraine for as long as needed,” Scholz told the journalists. As for the security guarantees for Ukraine, the discussions were “intense,” according to the German chancellor, who added that the results of the negotiations would be finalized at a later date.

Ukraine greatly intensified its attacks against Russian forces along the front line last week. According to Moscow, the Ukrainian military has been unable to breach Russian defenses and has suffered significant casualties, while also losing some of its Western-supplied Leopard 2 tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles.

On Saturday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky acknowledged that Kiev’s forces have been conducting “counteroffensive and defensive actions,” but refused to provide any further details.

Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday that “currently there are no prerequisites for any agreements” between Russia and Ukraine. “Moreover, now there’s no foundation, even a flimsy one, to build at least some kind of dialogue,” he added.

The reasons for that is the “unwillingness” and “unpreparedness” of Zelensky’s government to engage in any negotiations, Peskov said. The Western “masters” of Ukraine are also forbidding it from seeking a peaceful settlement, he added.

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