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11 Apr, 2024 11:03

Russia has spies in Ukraine’s top military echelons – Zelensky

Kiev claims its 2023 counteroffensive was derailed because the battle plans were leaked
Russia has spies in Ukraine’s top military echelons – Zelensky

Ukraine’s large-scale counteroffensive last year was most likely foiled due to Russian spies operating in Kiev, President Vladimir Zelensky has claimed, while promising that the next offensive will be more successful. 

In an interview with the German media conglomerate Axel Springer, which was published by Politico and other outlets on Tuesday, Zelensky admitted that Kiev’s military push last year – which started last June before getting bogged down in Russian defenses – was “not so successful.” 

The Ukrainian leader suggested that sabotage from within was to blame. “The Russians knew where we were going to attack,” he said, adding that “history will tell” how Moscow was able to intercept Kiev’s plans. 

He said the next attempt to breach Russian defenses “must give us some results,” without providing any timeframe.

Zelensky also warned Ukraine’s Western backers that it would be a grave mistake to stop sending arms at this point. The president acknowledged earlier this month that Ukraine “does not have enough shells for counteroffensive actions,” and that it can only hold the line by compensating for the ammunition deficit with drones. 

In March, Mikhail Podoliak – Zelensky’s top adviser – described the battlefield situation as “stagnation,” blaming it on slow supplies. 

The much-hyped Ukrainian counteroffensive, which was reinforced by hundreds of Western-made tanks and other weaponry, fizzled out by last autumn, with Kiev suffering catastrophic losses, according to Moscow.

In late February, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimated Ukraine’s losses in the offensive at 166,000 troops, more than 800 tanks and 2,400 armored personnel vehicles. Ukrainian troops have been on the back foot in recent months, with Moscow liberating the key Donbass town of Avdeevka and several other nearby settlements.

Ukrainian officials have been pleading for more aid from Western backers – particularly the US, where President Joe Biden’s $60 billion supplemental aid package to Kiev has been stalled in Congress for months. Republicans have stalled the measure, demanding more efforts to improve security on the southern US border.

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