Ukraine says it plans to raise a “million-strong army” equipped with Nato weapons to retake the south of the country from occupying Russians.
Russia’s war against Ukraine is entering it’s 5th month and Russia has taken territories in the South and Eastern part of Ukraine.
Retaking the areas around the Black Sea coast was vital to the country’s economy, Oleksii Reznikov said just hours after an attack on a block of flats on Sunday killed at least 18 people – with more than 20 feared buried under the rubble.
Rescuers are still looking for survivors at the site of the five-storey building in Chasiv Yar, near the city of Kramatorsk, in Donetsk region which has been the focus of a Russian push.
In his interview with The Times newspaper, Reznikov praised the UK for being “key” in the transition from providing Ukraine with Soviet-era weapons to Nato-standard air defence systems and ammunition.
He said weapons deliveries needed to go faster.
“We need more, quickly, to save the lives of our soldiers. Each day we’re waiting for howitzers, we can lose a hundred soldiers,” he said.
“We have approximately 700,000 in the armed forces and when you add the national guard, police, border guard, we are around a million strong,” the defence minister said.
Reznikov said an offensive to recapture some of the territory taken by Russia was “politically very necessary”.
It’s also economically important, not least to try to resume exports of Ukrainian grain via Black Sea ports.
Much of Ukraine’s military effort and resources are already being consumed by fierce fighting in the Donbas with Ukraine losing more than half their troops .
But Ukraine’s confidence has been boosted by the supply of more advanced long-range artillery systems.