Zelensky and Biden say Russia’s invasion is approaching crucial turning point

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressing Congress on Dec. 21. (Mandel Ngan/AFP by way of Getty Pictures)

Russia may quickly launch a brand new army offensive, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned in a videotaped handle earlier this week. He vowed to repel any such effort, which intelligence analysts have been anticipating for a while.

“We’ve got little doubt that the present masters of Russia will throw every little thing they’ve left and everybody they will muster to attempt to flip the tide of the struggle and at the very least postpone their defeat,” Zelensky mentioned Tuesday.

President Biden, talking earlier than a Cupboard assembly on Thursday, appeared to agree with Zelensky’s evaluation that the approaching weeks may show essential, particularly because the one-year anniversary of the invasion approaches, placing stress on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his army chiefs to reveal to the Russian public that the pricey struggle has not been for naught.

“Proper now, the struggle in Ukraine is at a important level,” Biden mentioned, including that, in his view, Russia is “not letting up in any respect.”

Any main Russian operation would seemingly should happen throughout the frigid winter months, earlier than spring rains flip unpaved roads to mud, particularly within the jap areas the place many of the preventing has been concentrated — a infamous impediment to shifting troops and heavy gear.

Ukraine’s devastating strike on a Russian base within the village of Makiivka, which killed at the very least 89 troopers Sunday night time, may intensify the Kremlin’s need for a punishing reprisal.

Ukrainian soldiers

Ukrainian troopers from a particular forces unit put together to fireside mortar shells on Russian forces amid artillery fights in Bakhmut, Ukraine, on Dec. 20. (Pierre Crom/Getty Pictures)

Wearing his customary inexperienced sweatshirt, the Ukrainian chief mentioned he had simply spoken to counterparts in the UK, Canada, the Netherlands and Norway, all of whom had pledged their persevering with help.

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“We mobilize the civilized world,” Zelensky mentioned, reprising feedback he had made throughout final month’s go to to Washington. “For the sake of life.”

This week has seen the USA, France and Germany all decide to sending armored automobiles to Ukraine, in obvious recognition that the struggle, now in its eleventh month, is approaching a probably decisive stage. Yet one more rout of Russian troops may deepen tensions in Moscow, the place few anticipated the struggle to final so long as it has.

“The terrorists should lose,” Zelensky mentioned in his Tuesday speech. “Any try at their new offensive should fail. This would be the ultimate defeat of the terrorist state. I thank all companions who perceive this.”

On Thursday, Putin ordered a ceasefire in order that frontline troops may mark Christmas, which, underneath the Julian calendar utilized by the Russian Orthodox Church, is available in January.

Ukraine rejected the supply to cease preventing, with Zelensky adviser Mykhailo Podolyak describing Putin’s ceasefire as a “cynical lure.”