Ukraine prepares a counter-offensive aimed at liberating Russian-occupied areas, do not attack Russian territorythe Ukrainian president said on Sunday, Volodymyr Zelensky.
During a press conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Zelensky made that clear Ukraine’s goal is to liberate the territories within its borders internationally recognized.
The president thus responded to an earlier publication by the Washington Post newspaper, which cited previously undisclosed documents from a series of US intelligence leaks that suggest that Zelensky considered the possibility of attempt to conquer Russian territory.
The intention would be to use those conquered territories as a possible bargaining chip in peace negotiations to end the war started by Moscow in February 2022.
This it would bring it into conflict with Western governmentswho have insisted that the weapons they supply must not be used to attack targets in Russia.
“We are not attacking Russian territory, we are liberating our rightful territory”Zelensky said when questioned by reporters on the matter. “We have neither the time nor the strength (from the attack on Russia). And we don’t have too many weapons that we could do it with,” the president said.
“We are preparing a counterattack for the squatted areas based on our legitimate borders defined by the constitution, which are internationally recognized,” Zelensky said.
The Ukrainian president is visiting his allies to ask for new arms deliveries to help his country repel the Russian invasion and rebuild what was destroyed during more than a year of devastating conflict.
A Luftwaffe plane flew Zelensky to the German capital from Rome, where he met with Pope Francis and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Saturday. Subsequently, he will visit France on Sunday evening to meet his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.
Zelensky’s first visit to Berlin since the start of the war comes a day after the German government announced a new military aid package for Ukraine worth more than €2.7 billion that includes tanks, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition.
Zelensky thanked Scholz for Germany’s political, financial and military support, saying the country is second only to the United States in aid given to Ukraine, joking that he was working to make it the top donor.
“German air defense systems, artillery, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles are saving Ukrainian lives and bringing us closer to victory. Germany is a reliable ally. Together we are moving closer to peace,” she tweeted after the meeting.
Scholz said Berlin had so far provided Kiev with around 17 billion euros in bilateral aid and could expect more in the future. “We will help them as long as necessary,” he said, adding that it was up to Russia to end the war by withdrawing its troops.
Zelensky said one reason for his visit to allied capitals is to create a “fighter aircraft coalition” that would provide Ukraine with the planes it needs to counter Russia’s air dominance.
Germany has said in the past that it doesn’t have the F-16 jets Ukraine needs, and Scholz answered questions about possible deliveries of planes by referring to the anti-aircraft system he supplied to Kiev.
In a joint statement after their meeting, Scholz and Zelensky said they support efforts to bring those responsible for the atrocities in Ukraine to justice and highlighted the arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin issued by the International Criminal Court.
They also pledged to ensure that sanctions against Russia are not circumvented and to explore the possibilities of using frozen Russian assets to compensate for damages in Ukraine.
Zelensky met for the first time with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who received a cold treatment from Kiev last year, ostensibly due to his previous ties to Russia. This cooled diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Germany, although both Steinmeier and Scholz have since visited Ukraine and reiterated to Zelensky their support for Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion.
After meeting with Scholz and other top Foreign Ministry officials, the two rulers flew to the western city of Aachen, where Zelensky will receive the International Charlemagne Prize together with the Ukrainian people.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.