Ukraine’s Reznikov warns on Russian counter-attack

Ukraine needs to secure the vast territory it has recaptured from possible Russian counter-attack, the country’s defence minister has warned, but said Kyiv’s lightning offensive had gone far “better than expected”.

The attack has routed the Kremlin’s forces, led to the recapture of some 3,000 square kilometres of Ukrainian territory and prompted an unusual admission by Russia’s defence ministry that its forces had to retreat.

“A counter-offensive liberates territory and after that you have to control it and be ready to defend it,” defence minister Oleksii Reznikov told the Financial Times, while cautioning: “Of course, we have to be worried, this war has worried us for years.”

The Ukrainian blitzkrieg — which Reznikov described in an interview as a “snowball rolling down a hill” — is the biggest setback so far of the full-scale invasion that Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered on Feb 24.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman leader of Chechnya, which has sent troops to the conflict, criticised Russia’s military for the retreat and said if their strategy did not change, he would speak to the “leadership of the country”.

“Mistakes were made. I think they’ll draw conclusions. It might not be nice when you tell someone…

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