Zelensky says Ukraine can inflict significant damage on Russian forces

(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday after meeting top commanders that the Ukrainian military has the potential to make battlefield gains and inflict heavy losses on Russia.

Speaking in a late-night video address, Zelensky said the meeting discussed supplies of modern weapons, adding that the attacks on the Russians should be escalated.

“(We) agreed that our forces have a strong potential to advance on the battlefield and inflict significant new losses on the occupiers,” he said.

Kyiv hopes that Western weapons, especially long-range missiles such as the US HIMARS deployed by Ukraine in recent weeks, will allow a counterattack and reclaim territory.

Britain’s intelligence chief said Thursday that the Russian military is likely to start an operational pause of some sort in the coming weeks, giving Kyiv a key opportunity to respond.

Zelensky said three people were killed when Russia bombed the eastern city of Kharkiv on Thursday.

“Each of these Russian attacks is an excuse for Ukraine to receive more HIMARS and other modern and effective weapons. Each of these attacks only strengthens our desire to defeat the invaders and that will certainly happen.”

(Reporting by David Leungren; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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