Ukrainian forces are facing more Russian attacks even as they prepare a counteroffensive of their own, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told US state-funded news outlet Voice of America on Friday.
“In the spring, when the weather improves, and it’s already starting to improve … we can expect the Russians to want to go on the offensive in some areas,” Kirby explained.
“We want to make sure that the Ukrainians are able to better defend themselves against that and if they choose offensive operations of their own, that they’ve got the capabilities to conduct those,” he added.
Kiev has been promising for months to launch a counteroffensive against Russia sometime this spring, after receiving weapons and training for its troops from the US and other foreign backers.
However, the operation has not materialized so far and may not kick off until the summer, according to recent remarks by Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmigal. Some Ukrainian officials, including Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, warned against treating the much anticipated offensive as a make-or-break moment in the stand-off.