Ukraine are preparing “counterattacks that can recapture certain areas or separate sections of the front, but not push Russia back across a broad front,” General Eberhard Zorn told an upcoming issue of Focus magazine.
Moscow has been forced to withdraw troops from areas in the northeast, particularly the Kharkiv region, after Kyiv launched a dramatic offensive in early September to retake the territory.
The territorial losses were among Russia’s biggest setbacks since its troops were pushed out of Kyiv in the first nearly seven-month long of war days.
Ukrainian troops are also seeking to retake territory in the south, but progress there is slower than in the northeast.
E. Zorn warned that it may be too difficult a task for Ukrainian forces to participate in several counterattacks at once, noting that they would need to outnumber the Russians by a ratio of three to one.
At the same time, the commander of the German army admitted that the Ukrainian army conducts operations “masterfully and very quickly”. “Two weeks ago, I would have said that it would be all within six months Donbass will end up in Russian hands. Today I say that they will not succeed,” he said.
Mr. Zorn also defended the supply of German arms to Ukraine, as Berlin comes under renewed pressure for refusing to send battle tanks requested by Kyiv.
The general emphasized that the armaments delivered by Germany so far “are significant both in terms of quantity and quality”. But he warned that the German army must be careful not to run out of supplies itself. “Everything we give away, we need to restore,” he said.
His comments came a day after Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, condemned “disappointing signals from Germany” about more arms supplies, including battle tanks.
Having initially refused to supply Kyiv with lethal weapons at the outbreak of war, later Germany increased arms supplies to Ukraine.
Since early September, Kyiv says its forces have retaken hundreds of villages, towns and cities seized by Russian forces that invaded Ukraine in February.
Moscow said on Wednesday that its forces had carried out “powerful strikes” on territories seized from Kharkiv.
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