Ukraine says it is ready to carry out its counter-offensive aimed at recovering territories occupied by Russia. Nevertheless, President Volodymyr Zelensky conceded that the loss of life could be heavy due to Russian air superiority. At the same time, Yevgeny Prigojine, the boss of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, said he was ready to send his units to defend the Russian region of Belgorod, bordering Ukraine and hit in recent days by intense bombardments and attacks .

The main information

  • Ukraine says it is ready to carry out its counter-offensive which should allow it to recover territories occupied by Moscow
  • The paramilitary group Wagner said it was ready to defend the border region of Belgorod
  • Indonesia has proposed a peace plan

Ukraine says it is ready to carry out its counter-offensive despite the risks

Preparations for a Ukrainian counter-offensive have been completed but the operation will not be without risk. And could even cost the lives of many soldiers due to Russia’s air superiority, Volodymyr Zelensky himself warned. In an interview published Saturday by the wall street journalhe said: “In my opinion, from today we are ready (…) We firmly believe that we will succeed”, he added, specifying that he did not know ” how long will it take”.

He warned, however, that the offensive would be “dangerous” without increased Western aid to counter Russian air attacks. “Everyone knows that a counter-offensive without air superiority is very dangerous,” added the Ukrainian president. Only one weapon, the US Patriot surface-to-air missile system, can protect Ukrainian skies, he added, calling for more such weapons to be delivered to his country. “One weapon robs Russia of its ability to intimidate tens of millions of people: the Patriots missiles,” he said.

In view of the NATO summit to be held in Vilnius, Lithuania, next month, he admitted to having understood that it was not possible for his country to join the Atlantic Alliance during the Russian invasion. “We don’t want to be a NATO member during the war,” he said. “It’s too late. But tell me how many lives is worth a sentence at the top of Vilnius?” “If we are not recognized and if we do not receive a signal in Vilnius” (with a view to possible future membership, editor’s note) “I think it is useless for Ukraine to participate in this summit”, he estimated.

Two civilians killed by shelling in Russian region bordering Ukraine

New Ukrainian bombardments on the Russian region of Belgorod, bordering Ukraine, left at least two dead and two injured on Saturday, said the governor of this territory hit in recent days by heavy gunfire. In a statement on Telegram, Vyacheslav Gladkov said that an “elderly woman” had been killed by gunfire in the town of Novaya Tavoljanka, bordering Ukraine. Another woman died of “numerous injuries” from shrapnel in the village of Bezliudovka, Vyacheslav Gladkov added.

Wagner’s fighters ready to go to defend the Belgorod region

“We will defend our (…) Russian people and all those who live there”, he added in an audio message published by his press service, specifying that his men would not wait for ” invitation” or authorization to deploy in the region. “The only thing we will ask for is ammunition, so as not to arrive, as we say at home, bare ass in the cold,” added Yevgeny Prigojine. In recent days, the Belgorod region, especially its localities located closest to the Ukrainian border, has been hit by fire of an unprecedented intensity since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine at the end of February 2022.

Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said the area was hit by more than 500 cannon, mortar or multiple rocket launchers on Friday, including more than 370 in and around the town of Chebekino, hundreds of civilians fled.

Indonesia proposes peace plan for Ukraine and Russia

Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto proposed a plan to end the war between Russia and Ukraine on Saturday at a defense and security conference in Singapore, a move immediately criticized by several attendees. “I call on Russia and Ukraine to commit to immediately cease all hostilities,” he said, stressing that the economies and food supply of Asian countries were badly affected by this conflict.

The minister proposed a ceasefire “on current positions”, demilitarized zones which would be guaranteed by observers and UN peacekeeping forces. He also suggested in the long term a “referendum in the disputed areas” organized by the United Nations, during his speech before the Shangri-La Dialogue Conference on Defense and Security in Asia-Pacific.

“Indonesia is ready to contribute by sending units for a potential UN peacekeeping operation,” he added. In April, China presented its own peace plan to end the war in Ukraine. Indonesia, which favors non-aligned diplomacy, has already attempted a peace mediation between the two belligerents. Indonesian President Joko Widodo traveled to Kyiv and Moscow and met with Ukrainian and Russian leaders last year when the country chaired the G20 group.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, attending the meeting, flatly rejected the Indonesian proposal. “It looks like a Russian plan, not an Indonesian plan,” he said. “We don’t need this mediator to come to us (with) this strange plan,” he added.