It is unlikely that the conflict with Russia will end this year, the British defense secretary has said
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine will likely continue into next year, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Tuesday.
“I’m optimistic that between this year and next year, I think Ukraine will continue to have the momentum with it and a position of strength,” Wallace told reporters during a trip to Washington, DC, as quoted by the New York Times.
Wallace warned, however, that “there is not going to be a single magic-wand moment when Russia collapses.”
The UK has been one of Kiev’s main backers, supplying the country with heavy weapons, including Challenger 2 tanks. Britain has trained 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers, according to the Defence Ministry, and pledged to train 20,000 more this year.
For the past several months, Kiev has been outspoken about its planned counteroffensive, but has not publicly revealed the timetable. Ukrainian officials have said, however, that the schedule and success of the endeavor will heavily depend on the supply of Western tanks and other equipment.
Aleksey Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told AP on Monday that the push will start at an appropriate time when the country is ready. Prime Minister Denis Shmigal recently said that the offensive will start “in the nearest future.” Shmigal stated that the recent leaking of the Pentagon files, which included reports about how Western countries were training and equipping Ukrainian troops, will not change the plans for the counteroffensive. However, a source close to President Vladimir Zelensky told CNN that Kiev had altered some of its plans because of the leak.
Some Western leaders, including NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, warned that the conflict, which broke out in February 2022, could last for years. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Washington is determined to support Kiev “for as long as it takes.”
The Kremlin said this month that the Russian military has been “meticulously monitoring” information regarding Ukraine’s plans. Moscow has also repeatedly stated that countries which send weapons to Kiev become de facto parties to the conflict.
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