Ukraine counter-offensive `ready to begin`
Desk Report || risingbd.com
Ukraine is ready to launch its long-expected counter-offensive against Russian forces, one of the country's most senior security officials has told the BBC.
Oleksiy Danilov would not name a date but said an assault to retake territory from President Vladimir Putin's occupying forces could begin "tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or in a week".
He warned that Ukraine's government had "no right to make a mistake" on the decision because this was an "historic opportunity" that "we cannot lose".
As secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, Mr Danilov is at the heart of President Volodymyr Zelensky's de facto war cabinet.
His rare interview with the BBC was interrupted by a phone message from President Zelensky summoning him to a meeting to discuss the counter-offensive.
During the interview, he also confirmed that some Wagner mercenary forces were withdrawing from the city of Bakhmut, the site of the bloodiest battle of the war so far - but he added they were "regrouping to another three locations" and "it doesn't mean that they will stop fighting with us".
Danilov also said he was "absolutely calm" about Russia beginning to deploy nuclear weapons to Belarus, saying: "To us, it's not some kind of news."
Ukraine has been planning a counter-offensive for months. But it has wanted as much time as possible to train troops and to receive military equipment from Western allies.
In the meantime, Russian forces have been preparing their defences.
Much is at stake because the government in Kyiv needs to show the people of Ukraine - and Western allies - that it can break through Russian lines, end the effective military deadlock and recapture some of its sovereign territory.