Moscow/Kyiv, May 18 (EFE).- Russia has shifted to a defensive mode in southern Ukraine and maintaining military pressure in the east while Ukraine warns the Kremlin is preparing for a protracted war.
“Russia is preparing a long military campaign. In the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions Russian occupiers are building fortifications to shift to defensive mode if necessary,” Ukrainian defense minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, warned EU and Nato officials on Wednesday.
Kyiv has urged the international community that a prolonged conflict in Ukraine will lead to a global food and migration crisis.
“We cannot allow Russia to prolong this conflict,” Reznikov said. “We want to defeat the enemy and liberate our territories as soon as possible,” he added.
Ukrainian armed forces claim Russian forces are increasing their offensive in the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
“In the directions of Bakhmut and Severodonetsk, the aggressor concentrated up to fifteen helicopters in the Lugansk region to support the offensive,” the Ukrainian Army reported.
Meanwhile, in the north of the country, the Russian enemy continues to bombard Ukrainian troops and civilian infrastructure in the border settlements of the Chernihiv and Sumy regions, the Ukrainian armed forces said.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy Wednesday said efforts of the Ukrainian Army to liberate “temporarily occupied” regions of the countries were continuing.
“We defend Zaporizhia, Mikolayev, Odesa. And we remember all the cities and all the localities that are still occupied. I always repeat, they are temporarily occupied,” he said.
Russian change of tactics does not mean that Moscow has given up what it calls its “special military operation” but is a sign that things are not going as planned, according to the undersecretary of the Russian Security Council, Rashid Nurgaliev.
“Despite all existing difficulties, the special military operation will be carried out to the end, and the set tasks, including the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine and the defense of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics will be fulfilled in full,” he said.
The Russian official blamed the West’s “unconditional support” to Kyiv for the obstacles Russia is facing.
“At the highest level, we are hearing aggressive statements that threaten our country, our leaders and our people, something that did not happen even during the Cold War,” Nurgaliev said. EFE