Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar warned Tuesday that the most significant blow for Russia in Kyiv’s highly-anticipated spring offensive has yet to come.
The war-torn nation recently launched an offensive against Moscow’s forces to recapture Russian-occupied territories.
According to Maliar, the ongoing campaign has several objectives, and the military is fulfilling its tasks.
“They are moving as they should have been moving. And the biggest blow is yet to come,” she said.
However, the deputy minister acknowledged that the operation is becoming more and more difficult as Russia continues to put up stiff resistance.
She further stated that the enemy would not easily give up its positions, so Ukraine’s forces must be ready for a “tough duel.”
“It is quite difficult for our defenders to advance because the enemy threw all their forces to stop the offensive,” Maliar wrote on Telegram.
Since Ukraine began its spring offensive two weeks ago, its military has maintained strict “operational silence” to surprise the enemy.
However, the silence has been marred by rumors that Kyiv’s forces were making slow progress despite fielding Western-supplied weapons and equipment.
On June 12, the war-torn nation reported the first gains of its offensive, revealing that three villages in the eastern region of Donetsk had already been retaken.
Around 43 square miles of territory have also been liberated, thanks to a solid counteroffensive in Bakhmut and Zaporizhzhia.
In addition, Mahar claimed this week that Moscow had lost 4,600 troops and 400 pieces of equipment, including tanks, helicopters, and howitzers.
Despite reports of minor and major victories, Russian President Vladimir Putin has maintained that the Ukrainian counteroffensive has had no meaningful success.
For their part, Putin and his top military officials in Ukraine have repeatedly said that the offensive is failing and that they are inflicting severe casualties on Kyiv’s forces.
On June 5, the Russian military claimed to have repelled a large-scale offensive in Moscow-annexed Donetsk and showed a video alleging Ukrainian tanks came under heavy fire.
The Russian defense ministry reported Tuesday that its forces struck and destroyed eight ammunition depots across Ukraine in the previous 24 hours.
Claims by Russian and Ukrainian forces have not been independently verified.