(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine will continue its counteroffensive through the autumn and into the winter, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, vowing to keep the pressure up on Russian forces despite slow progress to date.
“We will do everything not to stop during difficult days in autumn with not good weather, and in winter,” Zelenskiy told editors from US news media after a day of meetings on Capitol Hill and the White House.
Ukraine’s forces, which have struggled to advance against Russian defensive lines since the latest campaign began in early June, will “de-occupy two more cities,” he said, but he didn’t identify them. He also said his troops will take Bakhmut, a town in the east that fell to Russia after months of bloody fighting earlier this year.
He said Ukraine has learned the lesson of last year, when it paused most offensive operations for months after retaking large chunks of territory. Russia used that break to restore its forces and build the extensive defensive lines that have proved so challenging to Kyiv’s troops this year.
“I know what Putin wants,” he said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “He needs a pause because he really lost people.”
Zelenskiy said he came away from his meetings in Washington optimistic about continued US support, despite rising calls from Republicans in Congress to limit the aid. In their private meeting Thursday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy “said that they will be on our side,” Zelenskiy said.
Read more: Biden Tells Zelenskiy He’s ‘Determined’ to Get More War Aid
Those comments echoed public statements from the White House Thursday, which sought to show that it remains committed to supporting Ukraine’s war effort for as long as it takes. The administration is requesting $24 billion more in aid at present.
Read more: Zelenskiy Is Showing the Strain as His Allies Turn Up the Heat
Zelenskiy also said he’s optimistic that the US will ultimately provide the long-range missiles his government has sought to strike targets deeper in Russian-held territory. The administration has said it’s considering the request but hasn’t approved shipping the weapons.
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