Ukraine will win against Russia in the war this year, President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed on Sunday.
Zelensky expressed his confidence in Ukraine’s victory during a regular meeting with members of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief Staff.
“2023 must be and will definitely be the year of our victory!” he said in a Telegram post, as translated via Google Translate.
In the same post, Zelensky also noted that he and other participants in the meeting also discussed improving the training system for military personnel as well as provisions that the Armed Forces of Ukraine would need for operations planned for this year, including weapons, ammunition and military equipment.
Zelensky did not provide more details about the planned operations. However, the British Ministry of Defense (MoD) earlier this month suggested that Kyiv could be preparing to launch two counteroffensive operations, one in the northern region of Luhansk and another in southern Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Both regions have been illegally annexed by Russian forces.
The meeting comes as fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces continues in eastern Ukraine where Moscow’s troops are wrestling for control of villages near the city of Bakhmut. On Saturday, Russia’s infamous Wagner mercenary group claimed they have captured Blahodatne in Donetsk Oblast.
“Units of Wagner PMC have taken Blahodatne. Blahodatne is under our control,” Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said, according to The Moscow Times, citing Prigozhin’s press service.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Sunday, however, refuted the Wagner leader’s claim, adding that Kyiv’s forces successfully repelled Russian attacks targeting the village.
Russia’s Defense Minister did not confirm Prigozhin’s reporting. International Business Times could also not independently verify the claims.
The village of Blahodatne lies between Soledar, a salt-mining town that Russian forces captured on Jan. 11, and a road running north from the contested city of Bakhmut. The road serves as a crucial supply line for Ukrainian forces defending Bakhmut.
Russia first launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Since then, Moscow has lost a total of 126,160 military personnel in combat, according to estimates from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. The figure include 650 soldiers who were killed over the past day.