Ukraine counteroffensive: Slow going, but we’re making progress, Zelenskyy says

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KYIV — Ukraine’s counteroffensive may be progressing slowly, but the military is reclaiming more territory every single day, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview with CBS’s “60 minutes.”

“The situation is tough. We stopped the Russians in the east and started a counteroffensive. Yes, it is not that fast but we are going forward every day and de-occupying our land,” Zelenskyy said.

“Everyone wants to win now and doesn’t even want to wait until tomorrow. But even a year ago, some people doubted whether we would be able to go on the offensive. The question was whether we would survive as a whole or not. Today we have the initiative.”

He added that even though Ukrainian forces are often outnumbered by Russian troops on the eastern front and face heavily mined Russian fortifications on the southern front, they won’t stop their forward march because Moscow uses every pause in the war to rebuild its strength.

According to Zelenskyy, time is Ukraine’s main weapon, as Kyiv’s forces are more modern and faster when it comes to rapid decision-making. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy is a war of attrition that would exhaust Ukraine’s economy and its Western allies’ patience.

“If we stop like last year after our rapid success in Kharkiv region … bad weather or partners who slowed down weapons supplies waiting for spring’s good weather, taking time to prepare and produce more shells … I don’t want to push partners, but Putin’s tactic is clear — a war of destruction and exhaustion of our forces and the unity of our partners. That’s why we can’t stop,” Zelenskyy said.

He added that last year, Ukraine had to pause its offensive for six months as it waited for weapons deliveries. Russia used that time to restore its military strength, secure positions, and mobilize hundreds of people into the army.

When “60 Minutes” anchor Scott Pelly said Ukraine has about six weeks of good weather left, Zelenskyy agreed, but added that its forces should not stop de-occupation of its territories, even if it progresses at 100 meters a day.

“Where an armored vehicle can’t go, a drone should be launched, or our special operations units … The most important is not to give Russia any time to resume missile production, or to build another drone factory,” Zelenskyy said.