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Zelenskiy Says Ukraine Managed to Halt Russia’s Offensive Push

(Bloomberg) -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said his troops had blocked Moscow’s offensive and were stabilizing the frontline, even amid reports of Russian progress in the east.

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“The advance of Russia has been stopped,” Zelenskiy said in an interview with the French broadcaster BFM TV on Monday.

The current situation on the front was much better than in the past three months, he said, commending the country’s military leadership and troops. This may change for the negative, however, if Ukraine doesn’t start to get sufficient military aid from the west, he said.

In the third year of the invasion, Ukraine’s troops are struggling to overcome a shortage of ammunition and personnel, as well as a stalled $61 billion aid package from the US.

Zelenskiy’s comments were unexpectedly confident in the light of recent reports. Ukraine suffered several local setbacks over the past months, stoking concern in Kyiv that the Kremlin could gain the upper hand by the summer unless allies step up military and financial aid.

Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Bakhmut and Avdiivka in Ukraine’s east, the US-based Institute for the Study of War said in a Sunday report. Meanwhile, the current deadlock in fighting is “shifting the momentum” in Moscow’s favor, US intelligence agencies told the Senate on Monday.

Separately, Zelenskiy rejected the notion that French troops would be deployed in his country. “As long as Ukraine stands, the French army will stay within the territory of France,” Zelenskiy said in an excerpt of his interview with BFM TV released on X social media platform.

Zelenskiy warned, however, that if Russia were to invade a NATO member, French soldiers could be engaged within the alliance’s territory. He described the scenario as “another issue” and a matter of a joint decision by NATO countries.

French President Emmanuel Macron previously irked some of his allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization when he said “nothing can be ruled out” when asked about the possibility of sending his troops to Ukraine.

(Updates with comments from Zelenskiy from the first paragraph.)

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