09:08 31 Aug 2023

NATO chief: "Ukrainians have exceeded expectations again and again. We need to trust them"


NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, evaluating the counteroffensive actions of the Ukrainian forces, positively assessed their actions and believes that the Ukrainians are exceeding expectations.

"The Ukrainians are gradually gaining ground, which means that they are pushing back the Russians and are able to break through some of these well-fortified territories, in particular, thanks to minefields, and that is why it is even more important to support them now," the NATO leader stated in an interview with CNN.

Stoltenberg emphasized that the whole world saw how the Ukrainians once again exceeded expectations. He also added that everyone should remember that everything started last year with the full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine.

"At that time, experts believed that Ukraine would hold out for only a few days or weeks, but they liberated the north, Kyiv, the east, Kharkiv, the territory in the south, Kherson. And now they are achieving even greater success," said the Secretary-General.

Stoltenberg states, "This is a fierce struggle, a difficult struggle, and it is not an easy path to victory for the Ukrainians, but they are achieving success that is gaining momentum."

The NATO chief was also asked about the differences in the assessment of counteroffensive tactics among Western militaries. Stoltenberg said, "There is a constant dialogue between NATO allies and, of course, also a dialogue with Ukraine."

The Secretary-General believes that Ukrainians need to be helped with advice and support, "but in the end, it is Ukrainians who have to make decisions." Stoltenberg also noted that advanced air defense systems provided to Ukraine by NATO allies "proved their exceptional effectiveness."

"Ukrainians skillfully manage these systems, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as long-range cruise missiles," he summarized.

What we know about Ukraine's counteroffensive

According to the General Staff, the Defense Forces of Ukraine continue to conduct an offensive operation on the Melitopol front, are entrenched at the achieved boundaries, and carry out counter-battery countermeasures.

Meanwhile, the Russian troops suffered significant losses due to insufficient support on the islands of the Dnieper Delta in the Kherson region. The Ukrainian Defense Forces also continued to forcefully destroy the Russian invaders in the Zaporizhzhia and the Kherson directions.

According to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksii Reznikov, the Ukrainian armed forces are digging up five mines for every square meter planted by the Russians. According to the minister, Ukraine has qualified sappers and modern equipment. Still, they are extremely insufficient for the front, which stretches for hundreds of kilometers in the east and south of Ukraine.

Also, Ukrainian defenders entered the village of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region and organized the evacuation of civilians.

Andrii Yusov, the representative of the Defense Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, confirmed that Ukrainian intelligence agents had lured a Russian Mi-8 helicopter with the pilot to Ukraine.

Also, the Commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, set the task of liberating the settlement of Klishchiivka in the Bakhmut direction.

Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Malyar noted that the occupying forces are trapped and cannot leave Bakhmut.

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