Zelensky says Ukraine to launch counteroffensive soon, expects warplanes afterwards

KYIV – President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday that Ukraine would launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces soon, and that he was sure the West would supply Kyiv with modern warplanes afterwards.

Speaking at a news conference in Finland, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s newest member, Mr Zelensky said one of the reasons he travelled to Helsinki was that Kyiv wanted to become a fully fledged member of the military alliance.

Mr Zelensky will next travel to Berlin on May 13 at the invitation of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and then on to Aachen the next day to receive the 2023 Charlemagne prize, said police and media reports on Wednesday.

According to a report by the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel, Mr Zelensky will be received by Mr Scholz with military honours before flying to Aachen in western Germany.

A government spokesman declined to confirm the visit, saying only that Mr Scholz’s appointments would be announced every Friday for the following week.

Germany rallied behind Ukraine after the Russian invasion in February 2022, imposing sanctions on Moscow along with other Western partners, and shipping aid and weapons to Kyiv.

Ukraine has pressed its allies for long-range weapons, jets and ammunition before a looming counteroffensive aimed at pushing back Russian invasion forces.

Germany and the United States in January announced plans to provide advanced battle tanks to Ukraine after weeks of diplomatic deadlock over the issue, though Berlin has so far declined Kyiv’s requests for advanced fighter jets.

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