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exclusive: Winning the war in Ukraine boils down to armament and timeliness, a senior official told Fox News Digital after Kyiv made major advances in Kharkiv this month.
“We need to keep the pressure on them,” Yury Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s defense minister, told Fox News Digital. “If we allow them time to recover, if we give them time to rebuild their abilities, it will be possible for them to respond.
“We need to maintain the momentum, and we have to keep going,” he added, noting that the momentum must also continue down the path of international arms if Ukraine is to succeed.
Ukrainian forces recaptured almost the entire northern region of Kharkiv, liberating more than 400 towns and cities and forcing the Russian forces to withdraw.
Russian troops surrounded by Ukrainian forces and the Dnieper River, carrying supplies to the basins of Russian forces
The advance into northern Ukraine was part of a long-awaited counterattack – first hinted at in mid-May – which also included an offensive in Ukraine’s southern region.
But even Kyiv was surprised by its success in Kharkiv, where it managed to surprise the Russian forces and force them to retreat hastily, and in some cases across the borders of Russia.
“This was a mission that had been kept secret for a long time, and for good reason,” Sack said. “The result of this counterattack actually exceeded even our own expectations.”
The chancellor said that not only the amount of land exceeded Kyiv’s imagination, but also the success rate of the mission.
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Sack claimed that for every Ukrainian soldier killed in the counterattack, “9 to 10” Russian soldiers were killed.
Reports have since emerged of a breakdown in command and control in Russia’s ranks as it withdrew from Kharkiv, causing its soldiers to abandon not only military equipment but their own.
Sak said Ukrainian defense officials also received news that, in an effort to withdraw faster, Russian forces had left behind soldiers killed in action and sometimes shot wounded, though he said those accounts still need to be confirmed.
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“The Ukrainian army has achieved tremendous success,” he said. “They know what they are fighting for. They want to win this war.”
But Western officials said it was too early to say whether Ukraine’s ability to reclaim some 3,300 square miles was a turning point or whether Russia had another operational trick up its sleeve.
“We are not fully aware of what they can do in this desperate situation – which they are certainly in now,” the adviser said. “We have to be prepared for everything. Again, this brings us back to the issue of rushing and speed.
“They are learning from their mistakes,” he said. “From a purely logical point of view, it can be assumed that the following stages will be accompanied by a more complex response.”
Sack said Ukrainian defense officials rely heavily on intelligence to determine their offensive strategy and would never guess what Russia might do next.
“Our plan is simple: keep fighting until we win this war,” he added.
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Sak noted that with the advance of Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv, Russia increasingly relied on striking civilian targets and using “missile terrorism” in areas such as the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.
Ukraine continues to demand more air defenses such as anti-missile systems, fourth-generation aircraft, and long-range missile systems. But the White House has yet to agree to these big-ticket clauses.
“We can be as successful as the amount of weapons we receive,” he said. We understand that this war is not over yet.”