Washington — Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, pledged Sunday that Ukraine’s military will liberate all of the country from Russia as its armed forces continue its counteroffensive in the east to reclaim Russian-held territory.
“We always have to keep in mind that Russia still can do a lot of damage. But we don’t have any other choice, we will advance,” Markarova said in an interview on “Face the Nation.” “As we said before, we will not surrender. And we will liberate all Ukraine, because this is what we have to do not only to restore our territorial integrity, but to save all of our people who are under occupation.”
Ukrainian forces have liberated more than 1,100 square miles since the beginning of September, Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyy, Ukraine’s military chief, said Sunday, forcing Russian troops to withdraw from the northeastern Kharkiv region.
In a video address to the country on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the “Russian army in these days is demonstrating the best that it can do — showing its back.”
Markarova attributed the success of the counteroffensive so far to the “resolve of the armed forces” and Ukraine’s commanders, including Zelenskyy, who are “so devoted to victory.” But she also said the military aid from international partners has been crucial.
President Biden announced late last month a security package valued at nearly $3 billion from the U.S. to Ukraine, allowing the country to acquire air defense and artillery systems, munitions, radar systems and counter-unmanned aerial systems to defend itself from Russia’s aggression. The Biden administration also announced last week another $2.8 billion in military assistance, which includes $2.2 billion in military financing to Ukraine and 18 of its neighbors.
“Of course, we would like to liberate all Ukraine, as soon as possible, to stop the suffering of the people and to restore our sovereignty,” she said. “But whether it will be possible before the end of the year, we are ready to do it before the end of the year and hopefully, we will have everything we need to do so.”
Markarova stressed there are no complaints from Kyiv about the speed of weapons shipments to Ukrainian forces and said the latest in foreign financing is “not only what we need now, but also what we will need in the coming months and years in order to be able to defend ourselves.”
Russia’s war with Ukraine entered its 200th day Sunday, and Markarova said an end to the invasion will benefit not only the Ukrainian people, but also European nations.
The war “will last until we win, and we definitely would like it to be shorter because the Russians are not only attacking us. They’re attacking Europe, the energy crisis, the food crisis, everything they’re trying to create in order to not only attack Ukraine, but every democracy that is together with us fighting for the democracy now,” she said. “So the faster we do it, the faster we will return to rebuilding and renovating our country but also to some kind of normal life in Europe and globally.”
She also said the end of the war will make it easier for Ukrainian officials to identify and locate the roughly 91,000 children she said have been taken from Ukrainian families and brought to Russia.
The issue is one of the “top priorities,” Markarova said, and “hopefully, after we win, we will be able to get them all back.”