While Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Moscow had noticed a "lull" in Kyiv's campaign, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, stated that the country's counteroffensive against Russian forces has been "slower than desired" and that Ukrainian forces will not be forced to speed up.
Large minefields erected by Russian forces are preventing Ukrainian forces from advancing, Zelenskyy said in an interview with the BBC on Wednesday. The Ukrainian leader declared that "people's lives are at stake" due to the roughly 200,000 square kilometers (more than 77,000 square miles) of Ukrainian border territory covered in Russian land mines.
"Some people think this is a Hollywood film and demand results right away. Zelenskyy told the BBC that it is not.
We will advance on the battlefield in the manner we believe is best, he said, despite what some people might want or try to pressure us.
Zelenskyy, who confirmed that Ukrainian forces had retaken eight villages in the south and east of the nation, added that negotiations would never take place while Russian forces were still on Ukrainian soil and that the conflict would not be allowed to drag on.
No matter how far our counteroffensive gets, he insisted, "We will not agree to a frozen conflict," calling it "a prospectless development for Ukraine."
Zelenskyy's interview with the BBC took place on the same day that allies pledged billions of dollars in economic and reconstruction aid at a conference in London and the day after the leader of Russia once more claimed that Ukraine's counteroffensive was failing.
In televised remarks on Wednesday, Putin claimed that Moscow had noticed a "certain lull" on the front lines in Ukraine since Kyiv started its push earlier this month to retake territory held by Russian forces.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the commander of Russia's Wagner mercenary force, criticized Russian defense officials on Wednesday for lying about the status of Ukraine's counteroffensive, contradicting the Russian president's assessment of the conflict.
According to Prigozhin, Russian defense officials were concealing the fact that Moscow was losing territory to Ukrainian forces.
In an audio message made available by his spokespeople, Prigozhin claimed that "they are misleading the Russian people."
He claimed that numerous villages had been lost and that Russian troops were lacking in weapons and ammunition.
"Huge chunks have been handed over to the enemy," Prigozhin warned, announcing that Ukrainian forces had already attempted to cross the Dnipro River, a natural boundary along the front line.
The Wagner chief declared, "Everyone is being completely kept in the dark about all of this." "Russia will wake up one day to find that Crimea has also been given to Ukraine," he continued.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), based in Washington, DC, reported on Thursday that Russian sources had observed a "relatively slower pace of Ukrainian offensive operations" in recent days in the west of the Donetsk and Zaporizhia regions. Ukraine, according to the ISW, had long made it clear that its counteroffensive would consist of "a series of gradual and sequential offensive actions," though.
Military experts think that Kyiv has not yet launched its main counteroffensive operations.
"The success of Ukrainian counteroffensives should not be judged solely on day-to-day changes in control of terrain," the ISW stated.
The statement read, "The broader operational intentions of Ukrainian attacks along the entire front line may be premised on gradually weakening, wearing down, and exhausting Russian capabilities in anticipation of further offensive pushes."
Zelenskky stated that Ukrainian forces were making progress and "destroying the enemy" in the south of the nation in his daily, late-night address on Wednesday. "Our defenses are firming up in the east," he declared.
And I want to express my gratitude, guys, for every Russian helicopter shot down. Every [shot] matter, he said.