Blinken: Ukraine Recovers Nearly 50% Of Land Seized By Russia

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated Ukrainians have “already taken again about 50%” of the territory Russia seized for the reason that invasion because the embattled nation continues its counteroffensive.

Requested to weigh into studies that Ukraine was dealing with a tricky time in its stepped-up battle to oust Russian invaders, Blinken advised CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that the Kremlin has failed in its aim.

“They’ve already misplaced,” Blinken stated in an interview that aired on Sunday. “The target was to erase Ukraine from the map, to get rid of its independence, its sovereignty, to subsume it into Russia.”

Whereas Blinken acknowledged the battle is “powerful” for Ukrainians, he additionally pointed to the energy of their resistance.

“It’s already taken again about 50% of what was initially seized,” he stated. “Now they’re in a really onerous battle to take again, to take again extra. These are nonetheless comparatively early days of the counteroffensive.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, talking alongside his ally Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, on Sunday stated Ukraine’s counteroffensive “has failed.”

Worldwide assist for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s forces has been useful, Blinken stated, however essentially the most essential issue within the counteroffensive could be the Ukrainians’ resolve.

“Not like the Russians, Ukrainians are preventing for his or her land, for his or her future, for his or her nation, for his or her freedom,” he stated. “I feel that’s the decisive aspect, and that’s going to play out. However it is not going to play out over the following week or two. We’re nonetheless trying I feel at a number of months.”

In a separate interview, Zelenskyy advised Zakaria he would have most popular to start the counteroffensive earlier, however his forces didn’t have the required weapons.

“We did have plans to start out it in spring,” he stated. “However we didn’t, as a result of, frankly, we had not sufficient munitions and armaments, and never sufficient brigades correctly educated in these weapons. Nonetheless extra, that the coaching missions had been held exterior Ukraine.”

Requested about why the U.S. hasn’t delivered on Zelenskyy’s request for U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets, Blinken stated the authorization course of is ongoing. Crucial factor is for Ukraine to make use of the fighters in a “good manner,” he stated.

“It’s not simply the tools itself,” he stated. “It’s the coaching, it’s the upkeep, it’s the power to make use of it in mixed arms operations. All of that takes time. If a choice had been made to truly transfer ahead on the F-16s tomorrow, it will be months and months earlier than they had been truly operational.”

The U.S. has beforehand stated F-16s ought to arrive in Ukraine by the top of 2023, however Nationwide Safety Council spokesperson John Kirby famous the fighter jets alone wouldn’t “be sufficient to show the tide right here.”

In the meantime, Russia on Monday blamed Ukraine for a drone assault close to the Protection Ministry’s primary headquarters in Moscow, in keeping with The Related Press. Ukraine accused Russia of attacking port infrastructure in southern Ukraine, injuring seven folks and destroying a grain hangar, AP reported.

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