President Zelenskyy has given his clearest hint yet — seemingly backed up by a chaotic week in the field in Ukraine — that a long-touted counteroffensive may have begun.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy acknowledged on Saturday that some counteroffensive operations have already begun.
Zelenskyy made the comment in response to a question posed by a journalist regarding the claim made by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday that the counteroffensive was taking place and was already failing.
"It's interesting what Putin said about our counteroffensive. It is important that Russia always feels this — that they do not have long left, in my opinion," Zelenskyy said.
"Counteroffensive and defensive actions are underway in Ukraine — I will not go into detail about which stage," the Ukrainian president added.
The comments left it unclear whether the main thrust of the counteroffensive had already started or whether it was still in the preliminary stages.
The chances of Ukraine's government or military ever making such announcements explicitly or in any detail are low, because doing so is liable to harm their troops' chances in the field.
But observers have noted a significant uptick in military action in recent weeks, following months of hinting at a major counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces against well-entrenched Russian positions.
This week's destruction of the Nova Kakhova dam, for which Russia and Ukraine blame each other, could also have served to impede any Ukrainian plans to launch an amphibious assault across the Dnipro (or Dnieper) river.
While the UK's Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that Ukraine has "likely made good progress" on some fronts, the Russian Defense Ministry called attempts by Ukrainian forces to advance in the past 24 hours "unsuccessful."
Ukraine's top military leaders "are all in a positive mood," Zelenskyy told reporters as he sat next to visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "Pass that on to Putin."