US veteran envoy Victoria Nuland visited Kyiv on Wednesday in a sign of support two years into Russia’s invasion, saying Moscow should expect “surprises” on the battlefield.
Nuland, who is acting deputy secretary of state, visited the Ukrainian capital as fresh US aid to the war-torn country hung in the air, with Republic lawmakers growing reluctant to keep supporting Kyiv.
“I leave Kyiv tonight more encouraged about the unity and the result, about 2024 and its absolute strategic importance for Ukraine,” Nuland said.
“I also leave more confident that, as Ukraine strengthens its defences, Mr. (Vladimir) Putin is going to get some nice surpriseson the battlefield and that Ukraine will make some very strong success,” she added.
She praised Ukraine for fighting back Russian forces for almost two years, saying it had “inflicted massive damages on Putin’s land forces.”
Ukraine’s counter-offensive, launched last year after huge anticipation, has nonetheless been less successful than expected and the front in Ukraine has barely moved in months.
Putin said Wednesday that Russian forces were holding grown on the “outskirts” of the east Ukrainian town of Avdiivka, a fighting hotspot that Moscow has been trying to capture for months.
But Ukraine’s military spy chief, Kyrylo Budanov, said Tuesday that he thought the Russian offensive could halt in the coming months.
“Their offensive is still continuing, it will run out sometime in the beginning of spring,” he predicted, without providing details, on Ukrainian television.