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Preparations Underway for Ukraine's Anticipated Counter-Offensive Against Russia: An Analysis"

The Ukrainian government recently announced the need for additional preparation time before launching a significant counter-offensive against Russian forces, as reported in a BBC interview published on Thursday. This delay coincides with the United Kingdom's commitment to supply Kyiv with Storm Shadow missiles, marking the UK as the first country to offer longer-range missiles to Ukraine.

Kyiv has been actively training a new force contingent, stockpiling munitions, and hardware supplied by Western allies. Experts consider these steps crucial for the reclamation of territories seized by Russia. However, the exact timeline for the counter-offensive remains uncertain.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the BBC, "Mentally we're ready...," but added that some necessary equipment was yet to arrive. He pointed out the potential human cost of launching an offensive with current resources, stating, "We'd lose a lot of people. I think that's unacceptable. So we need to wait. We still need a bit more time."

Meanwhile, Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Russia's Wagner private military company, accused Zelensky of dishonesty in the interview, claiming that Ukraine's counter-offensive "is in full swing."

For months, Kyiv has been preparing to regain territory in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in the east, as well as the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in the south.

In another development, the US envoy to South Africa accused the latter of covertly supplying arms to Russia, contradicting its declared neutrality in the Ukraine conflict. The UK-provided Storm Shadow missiles, previously used in the Gulf, Iraq, and Libya, offer Ukraine the best chance of defending itself against Russia's continued aggression, according to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov stated last month that the country's preparations were nearly complete, but highlighted that the arrival of the US-promised Abrams tanks would be delayed until year-end.

Despite this, Ukraine has received hundreds of other tanks, aircraft, munitions, and other arms from its Western allies. Since the onset of Russia's invasion, over $150 billion in aid, including $65 billion in military assistance, has been provided to Kyiv.

The success of Ukraine's planned counter-offensive could significantly influence future aid donations from the West. Despite calls for peace talks with Russia, President Zelensky has rejected any land concessions.

In the BBC interview, Zelensky warned against a "frozen conflict" that Russia was counting on, while acknowledging the impact of Western sanctions on Russia's defense industry. He cited a decrease in daily shellings in some areas as evidence.

Earlier this week, a senior Ukrainian military official reported Russian forces retreating from areas around the eastern city of Bakhmut following limited Ukrainian counter-attacks. Prigozhin confirmed some Ukrainian units' successful advancements in the area.

As the conflict rages on, it has taken a significant toll on those covering it. Agence France-Presse (AFP) journalists and staff worldwide observed a minute of silence on Thursday to honor their colleague Arman Soldin, who was killed earlier this week.

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