Zelensky says Ukraine’s Black Sea assault ‘will go down in history’

Zelensky also warned against expecting instant success in Ukraine’s counter-offensive campaign

Arpan Rai
Wednesday 01 November 2023 04:49 GMT
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Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine’s success in the battle for the Black Sea “will go down in history books”, as he rallied troops in his nightly video address.

Ukraine’s success in the battle for the Black Sea will go down in history books, although it’s not being discussed much today,” he added.

Mr Zelensky also warned against expecting instant success in Ukraine’s counter-offensive campaign as Russian forces showed signs of amping up fresh attacks on different sections of the frontline.

“We live in a world that gets used to success too quickly. When the full-scale invasion began, many people around the world did not believe that Ukraine would survive," the war-time president said in his nightly video address.

He added: "Glory to all those who do not retreat, who do not burn out, who believe in Ukraine just as they did on February 24, and who have been fighting unwaveringly."

The war frontline along Ukraine’s east and south has seen little along the 1,000 km span this year despite Kyiv’s counter-offensive push which Russia has resisted by mining vast swathes and throwing in battalions of men in the siege.

Mr Zelensky lauded his troops for diminishing Russian military strength in the Black Sea, adding that if there’s greater support from Ukraine’s allies, they could inch closer to victory over Russian forces.

"When we ensure even more security to the Black Sea, Russia will lose any ability to dominate in this area and expand its malign influence to other countries," Mr Zelensky said.

The full extent of the damage that Ukraine has done in recent months to the Russian Black Sea Fleet remains unclear. Even claims made by the Russian defence ministry of success in destroying the weapons comes with little evidence. The losses on both sides, of personnel and equipment, have been guarded as a state secret.

On the battlefield front, signs of struggle have persisted.

The Ukrainian president said his meeting with senior commanders considered sectors engulfed by the fiercest fighting in the east and northeast, including the key areas of Avdiivka and Kupiansk, where Russia has been on the offensive in recent weeks.

Russia has concentrated its military might on Avdiivka, an eastern Ukrainian town in Donetsk, which officials said is bracing for a new wave of attacks after witnessing steady assaults since mid-October.

"The enemy is bringing in forces and equipment. Our boys are preparing for a new wave," Vitaliy Barabash, head of the military administration in Avdiivka, told national television.

The town with its vast coking plant was briefly captured in 2014 when Russian-backed separatists seized chunks of land in the east, but Ukrainian forces have since put up fortifications.

Ukraine’s ground forces said on Tuesday that Russian forces were also focused on Kupiansk - a city in the northeast overrun by Russia in the early days of the invasion, but recaptured by Ukrainian forces last year.

Alongside, Russia claimed that its forces had conducted successful attacks near the town of Bakhmut - a largely destroyed town captured by Russian forces in May.

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