Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with CBS News that Russian troops could launch a new offensive by the end of May or the beginning of June.

The most precarious situation remains in eastern Ukraine due to a weapons shortage, despite Ukrainian forces stabilizing it “as much as possible.”

“We have stabilized the situation. It's better than two or three months ago,” Zelensky told CBS. “But we need help now to train the appropriate brigades that will have to defend our land, especially during the counteroffensive that Russia plans.”

According to Zelensky, the main issue is getting what Ukraine needs to prevent territorial loss.

“If we're discussing not a counteroffensive, but stabilization, as I mentioned earlier, the top priority is air defense and artillery shells. That's what we need,” he said.


There were no major Russian offensive breakthroughs in the winter, Zelensky said, but Russian troops did manage to destroy some villages with the help of seemingly limitless supplies of rockets and shells.

Meanwhile, Ukraine was starved for shells.

“The remains of our artillery were almost empty, practically zero. I'm referring to the situation with shells in December,” Zelensky said. “This issue with the bill regarding aid from the US ties into these problems, and it actually began quite some time ago, back in the fall, to be honest.”

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At the same time, the desperate situation was eased thanks to Ukrainians having quickly built up their drone production capacity.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin took advantage of Ukraine’s artillery famine and destroyed Avdiivka, Zelensky said.

“There was no strength to hold (the city). There was nothing.”

Zelensky, expressing his gratitude, said that US and European allies enabled Ukraine to get through the winter, particularly by supplying it with missiles for air defense.

Ukraine faces difficulty in combatting the Russian army due to not only the shortage of artillery and shells but also due to Russian artillery usually having a longer range, Zelensky said.


“In Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Lysychansk, and Soledar, it was truly challenging to combat an enemy whose artillery can reach 20-plus kilometers, while ours reaches minus 20.”

Regarding US assistance, Zelensky underscored the need for American Patriot anti-missile defense systems and additional artillery.

In response to a CBS News reporter’s question, Zelensky acknowledged that conflict in Gaza has diverted some of the world’s attention away from Ukraine.

In response to whether a Ukrainian victory will ever be possible while Putin remains in power, the Ukrainian president acknowledged the enormity of the challenge – but said that it is, with support from Allies.

He cautioned that should Ukraine falter, Putin's ambitions would not stop. Putin would continue his invasion and US soldiers would be brought to Europe, being bound by NATO’s Article 5.

“For him, we are a satellite of the Russian Federation,” Zelensky said. “Currently, it's us, then Kazakhstan, the Baltic states, Poland, and even half of Germany.”

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