Mr. Zelensky: Ukraine stopped the collapse in Avdiivka thanks to smart steps 0Mr. Zelensky: Ukraine stopped the collapse in Avdiivka thanks to smart steps 0

(Dan Tri) – In an interview with the Washington Post, President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Ukrainian armed forces may soon be forced to withdraw further if US military aid continues to be delayed.

View of a road leading to Avdiivka where Ukrainian forces just retreated on February 17 (Photo: Maxim Zhorin).

President Zelensky also called on Washington to provide more long-range missiles to attack airports in Crimea.

Mr. Zelensky said the Ukrainian army cannot plan counter-offensive operations because it is not known whether they have the necessary weapons to carry out them.

`If you don’t take steps to prepare for another counterattack, Russia will take them,` he said.

After Kiev’s unsuccessful counterattack last year, Moscow forces have regained the initiative across the battlefield while Kiev is finding it increasingly difficult to contain the enemy’s advance, largely due to lack of ammunition.

This was clearly demonstrated in February when Russia occupied Avdiivka, forcing Ukrainian troops to retreat from the city and hastening the construction of defenses further on Ukrainian territory.

`We are trying to find some way not to retreat,` the Ukrainian leader said, adding that after Avdiivka fell, Kiev forces stopped the collapse.

However, he warned that the wider situation would be dire without more military aid.

`Without US support, it means we have no air defense systems, no Patriot missiles, no jammers for electronic warfare, no 155mm artillery shells,` he said.

Along with advancing across the front lines, Moscow forces have also increased missile and drone attacks on many Ukrainian cities and infrastructure.

In addition to facing a dwindling supply of anti-aircraft missiles, Ukraine also lacks long-range missiles that can strike air bases from which Russian bombers take off.

President Zelensky said: `Russia has missiles and we don’t, they attack everything with missiles, gas, energy, schools, factories, civil buildings.`

ATACMS is a long-range Army tactical missile system.

The US has newer ATACMS variants with a maximum range of 300km but has not supplied them to Ukraine so far.

`When Russia knows we can destroy these jets, they will not attack from Crimea,` Mr. Zelensky said.

President Zelensky emphasized that political controversy in Washington is hindering Ukraine’s ability to fight back.

`We cannot waste any more time. Ukraine cannot be a political issue between the parties,` he said, adding: `If Ukraine collapses, (Mr.) Putin will divide the world.`

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