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24 Mar, 2023 11:44

Ukrainian counteroffensive ‘will shock the world’ – US adviser

Kiev’s forces will be in better shape than they were a year ago, Dan Rice has predicted
Ukrainian counteroffensive ‘will shock the world’ – US adviser

The Ukrainian military is poised to unleash a massive offensive against Russian troops in the coming weeks, which will stun the global community, an American adviser to Kiev's top general claimed on Thursday.

Speaking in an interview with the Ukrainian daily New Voice, Dan Rice, an Iraq War veteran who now serves as an adviser to Valery Zaluzhny, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, claimed Russia had encountered serious hurdles while trying to gain control of the key Donbass city of Artyomovsk, known in Ukraine as Bakhmut.

In recent weeks, Russian forces have captured several villages around the strategic logistical hub, with Evgeny Prigozhin, chief of the Wagner Private Military Company, claiming the group was in control of 70% of the city. Last week, Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy, described the Ukrainian troops’ situation on the ground as “very poor,” saying they were virtually encircled and suffering heavy losses.

While Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky himself has described the battle as “one of the hardest,” Rice played down those difficulties, focusing instead on adverse weather conditions, and asserting that Moscow had chosen a “terrible time to attack.

He stated that when the “right time” for Kiev’s offensive comes in the spring, “Ukraine will have a much stronger army, and much better provision than it had a year ago” when hostilities started.

“And you have to go on the offensive to win back positions. And I believe that this spring Ukraine will have a very powerful counteroffensive that will shock the world,” Rice insisted.

Last week Politico reported, citing sources, that the US expected Kiev to start its counterattack in May after receiving more Western weapons. The news outlet said that while Kiev had not made a final decision on its strategy, US officials believe that Ukrainian forces could push into Crimea either by crossing the Dnieper River – a scenario deemed unrealistic – or move from the north in a bid to cut off Russian troops on the peninsula.

When asked to comment on the report, Mikhail Podoliak, a senior aide to Zelensky, expressed frustration that such sensitive information was being disclosed, explaining that any counter-offensive “should be a surprise for the enemy”.