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A lightning Ukrainian counter-offensive has recaptured 6,000 square kilometres of territory in the country’s northeast and south since the start of September, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky. In an interview with FRANCE 24, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration said that this advance was the turning point, not only of the Russian invasion that started on February 24 but also “of the war that started in the spring of 2014”. Olga Stefanishyna spoke to Marc Perelman from Kyiv.


Ukraine‘s deputy prime minister admitted that her country was “preparing for the worst-case scenario” in terms of Russian retaliation but that until now, Ukraine had not been taken by surprise.

Stefanishyna said Russian officials had reached out to Ukraine to negotiate in recent days but that her country now had more leverage and would only talk once it had reached its military goals. She noted that the Russians were offering talks now in order to stop the Ukrainian advance.

Stefanishyna expressed confidence that the Donbas region and annexed Crimea would come back under Ukrainian control. She urged European leaders to slap more sanctions on Russia, stating that the European need for gas and energy resources is also a Russian weakness and that those sectors should be targeted.

Finally, the deputy PM stressed that Ukraine had now clearly demonstrated it was a legitimate candidate for EU membership.

Read more analysis on the war in Ukraine
Read more analysis on the war in Ukraine © Studio graphique France Médias Monde