UK weapons supplies making Ukrainian soldiers feel like ‘superheroes’
The UK’s military support of Ukraine is helping the nation’s soldiers to feel like “superheroes” ahead of their imminent counter offensives, a Ukrainian People’s Deputy has said. Kira Rudik, leader of the opposition Holos Party, told Express.co.uk that while it has become taboo to speak about the upcoming attacks because they are “very scared for their soldiers”, the ongoing support from Britain, which has ramped up in the past week, is giving them “more and more hope”.
It comes as Ukraine continues “shaping operations” across the frontline, particularly around the besieged city of Bakhmut, reversing months of Russian advances.
Speaking in the hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky concluded his visit to the UK on Monday, Ms Rudik hailed the support of Britain.
She said that despite the “bravery and will” of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which many have been credited for the startling resistance to Russia’s advances in the early months of the invasion, prior to the arrival of Western weaponry, the country still “needs the means to win this war”.
“With all the exhaustion and pain, and broken dreams that we have right now, this ongoing support from Britain is just giving us more and more hope. It is incredibly important,” she said.
She smiled as she recounted a conversation she had recently had with one of her friends who had volunteered to fight against Russia.
She said that when she asked him how he was feeling, having received weeks of Western military training and scores of weaponry, he said: “I feel like I am a superhero.”
Ms Rudik said it was those conversations that proved to her that British and wider Western support of Ukraine was demonstratively improving the belief of the nation’s soldiers that they could defeat Russia.
The counter offensives are close- last week, Mr Zelensky said Ukraine needed just “a bit more time” – and Britain appears to have deliberately announced a new tranche of game-changing support at a vital point in the conflict.
Justin Crump, a former British tank commander, said the Western supplies, led by Britain, were paramount to allowing Ukraine to show “they’re in this conflict for the long term and that they’re able to keep sustaining this effort”.
It comes as Ukraine has already begun “shaping operations” around Bakhmut, attacking targets such as weapons depots, command centres, armoured vehicles and artillery systems to prepare the battlefield for a counter offensive.
Despite the preparatory nature of these attacks, they have already pushed back Putin’s forces and threatened a double envelopment, which involves outflanking the Russian soldiers that have spent the last ten months trying to encircle the city.
Ukrainian Deputy defence minister Hanna Malyar stated on May 15 that the Ukrainian forces made unspecified advances in and around Bakhmut in the past several days.
Analysts claimed last weekend that Ukraine had reversed more than 2.5 months of Russian advances on the flanks of Bakhmut in the past week, though Wagner Group attacks within the city were ongoing.
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For all the success of late, however, Ukrainians are avoiding openly talking about the counter offensives because they know the “price we will have to pay as a nation”, according to Ms Rudik.
“The side that is going on the attack, whether that be in an offensive or counter offensive, almost always incurs higher losses,” she said.
“This is why we are all afraid to talk about the counter offensives. We know the price we will have to pay as a nation, that we will have to pay personally.
“When the counter offensives begin, we know so many of our friends and family will have to raise themselves over the trenches and move forward against the enemy with the highest risk to their life.”
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