A senior aide to Ukraine's president told AFP Wednesday that Kyiv's counteroffensive launched last month to recapture territory under Russian control would likely be grinding.

Five weeks into Kyiv's long-anticipated operation, much of the front appeared to be frozen. Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak admitted progress was "slower than we want".

"Undoubtedly, this operation will be quite difficult, long and will take quite a lot of time," Podolyak said.

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Podolyak also said Kyiv was seeking a joint military patrol of Black Sea countries in order to continue grain exports from its ports after Russia exited a landmark deal ensuring the safety of cargo ships.

He spoke two days after Moscow left the deal and as Russia pounded Ukrainian Black Sea port infrastructure for two straight nights.

"Negotiations are ongoing at all levels. A UN mandate should be added here to create a military patrol that would include countries in contact with the region, for example Turkey, Bulgaria or any others," Podolyak said.

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On the battlefield, Podolyak said Kyiv's offensive was difficult because of heavily mined territory as well as logistical problems, including in arms deliveries.

He said Kyiv needs an additional 200 tanks and dozens of F-16 fighter jets to accelerate its efforts to wrest Russian forces from entrenched positions in the south and east of the country.

"Of course, we need additional armoured vehicles -- two to three hundred tanks first of all," Podolyak told AFP journalists.

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"We need 60 to 80 F-16 planes in order to close the skies well, especially in the area near the front."

But he claimed that the number of "offensive operations" led by the Ukrainian army was "progressively rising" and said that not all brigades readied for the counteroffensive have been sent to the front.

He stressed that any compromise with Russia to end the war would "destroy" Kyiv's statehood as Moscow "hates" Ukraine and seeks to recreate the Soviet Union.

"For us a compromise does not exist because Russia hates us, it came to destroy the concept of the Ukrainian state," Podolyak said.

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"A compromise would in one way or another lead to the slow loss of Ukraine and its statehood" and the "return of the Soviet Union," he added.

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Comments (2)

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GREGORY
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THIS WAR NEEDS TO STOP. UKRAINE GOVERNMENT IS CORRUPT BILLIONS ARE WASTED AND TEN OF THOUSANDS OF UKRAINE ARE GETTING KILLED UKRAINE IS GETTING DESTROYED. BIDEN MUST STOP THIS MADNESS

E A Morgan-Coakle
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@GREGORY,
Yes the war must stop. And yes many are dying at the hands of oppressors. But what do you do? Let invaders take your land, and/or abuse your family?
Please Gregory ask Vlad the Vandal to stop.
Is Ukraine a part of Russia? The people of Ukraine apparently do not think so given their determination to fight.
Yes wars breed corruption - always have done. And yes Russia will pay to rebuild the lives and homes of the innocent.

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Marcin
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@GREGORY, THIS WAR NEEDS TO STOP. RUSSIA REGIME IS FULL OF BANDITS AND TERRORISTS AND WHOLE WORLD UNDERSTAND THIS WHILE SUPPORTING UKRAINE! THOUSANDS OF UKRAINIANS ARE GETTING KILLED AND UKRAINE IS GETTING DESTROYED BECAUSE OF TERRORISTS ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS STRUCTURES! ONLY WORLD'S ALLIANCE SUPPORTING UKRAINE CAN STOP THIS MADNESS AND ANNIHILATE RUSSIA REGIME!

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I support
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Fight on never surrender. Lets give,them everything they need to show these evil bastards they cant do this

GREGORY
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@I support,

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