Ukrainian tank near the town of Bakhmut on May 7, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine


  • Ukraine said its counteroffensive would force Russia to withdraw from occupied territories
  • Ukraine's President Zelensky said counteroffensive operations would begin soon
  • Kyiv recently captured more than 10 Russian positions in the Bakhmut area

Ukraine has warned that Russia would likely see "catastrophic events" befall its army once Kyiv launches its highly-anticipated spring counteroffensive nearly 15 months into the war.

Speaking in an interview with German news outlet Bild, presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said that Ukraine's counteroffensive would likely push back Russian troops from their positions.

"I believe that we will see catastrophic events befalling the Russian army. It will be forced to rapidly withdraw from the occupied territories," he said, as translated by Ukrainska Pravda. "I believe that this spring-summer season will be heated. The myth of the mighty Russian army, which has haunted Europe and Germany for so long, is finally being dispelled."

It is unclear when Ukraine's counteroffensive will begin. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday teased that the Armed Forces of Ukraine would take "the first important steps" soon, but refused to give a specific timeline.

"There will definitely be very serious steps. I cannot tell you (when)... but you will definitely see it and Russia will definitely feel it," he said, adding, "We believe in victory and believe that the first important steps will be taken soon."

Amid months of stalemate, Ukraine on Sunday successfully captured more than 10 Russian positions in the northern and southern outskirts of the embattled city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast.

"Today, our units captured more than ten enemy positions in the north and south of the outskirts of Bakhmut and cleared a large area of the forest massif in the Ivanivske district. Enemy soldiers from different parts were captured," Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Mailar announced on Telegram.

Russia has yet to comment on Ukraine's gains in Bakhmut. However, it confirmed the deaths of two of its military commanders, Col. Vyacheslav Makarov of the 4th motorized rifle brigade and Col. Yevgeny Brovko, the deputy commander of the army corps for military-political work.

Bakhmut has been at the epicenter of the Russia-Ukraine conflict for months. The city, now mostly ruined by missile strikes and heavy fighting, is believed to be where tens of thousands of both Russian and Ukrainian soldiers have died.

Ukrainian service members prepare rest at their positions at a front line near the city of Bakhmut