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Ukrainian counteroffensive is not a ‘big battle for Middle-earth’ – Zelensky’s aide

Mikhail Podoliak has spoken against treating the ongoing hostilities like a fantasy film

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine is not a “Hollywood movie,” and one should not expect the looming Kiev counteroffensive to be a turning point in it, President Vladimir Zelensky’s aide Mikhail Podoliak has said.

“When we talk about a counteroffensive, that it will cause a collapse for Russia or, conversely, there will be no gains for Ukraine, it looks like we are in a Hollywood movie, where a big battle for Middle-earth begins and one battle for Gondor will decide everything. Things do not happen like that,” Podoliak said on Tuesday.

The long-hyped offensive is a set of “many events,” some of which may be “more successful, while others – less [successful],” he added.


While the official did not elaborate on how deeply the fantasy version had been embedded into Ukrainian society, over the course of the ongoing conflict, Russian troops have commonly been referred to by Ukrainian media outlets and officials alike as ‘orcs’.

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FILE PHOTO: National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby.
US warns of new Russian offensive in Ukraine

Podoliak’s remarks seem to be in line with recent statements by multiple Ukrainian and Western officials, who have urged the public not to set their expectations for the long-awaited offensive too high. The operation was originally expected to start in the spring – even as early as in late winter – but has not materialized thus far.

Kiev’s top diplomat, Dmitry Kuleba, recently advised against treating the counteroffensive as a make-or-break moment in the whole conflict. Multiple senior US officials have also expressed doubt that Ukraine will be capable of reaching its proclaimed goal of expelling Russian troops from all the territories it claims as its own anytime soon. Moreover, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby recently warned that Moscow might launch a new offensive of its own shortly.


“In the spring, when the weather improves, and it’s already starting to improve … we can expect the Russians to want to go on the offensive in some areas,” Kirby told the state-run Voice of America outlet on Friday.

May 10, 2023 at 12:10AM

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