TOLEDO, Spain — Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday lashed out at those criticizing the slow pace of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, calling on them to keep their mouths shut.
“Criticizing the slow pace of counteroffensive equals to spitting into the face of Ukrainian soldier who sacrifices his life every day, moving forward and liberating one kilometer of Ukrainian soil after another,” he told reporters during a break at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers that he attended in Toledo, Spain.
“I would recommend all critics to shut up. Come to Ukraine and try to liberate one square centimeter by themselves,” he added.
Ukraine launched its counteroffensive against Russian troops this past June; but its slow pace has been the focus of international headlines for weeks. Ukraine’s staunchest supporters argue that sluggish progress can be traced back in part to delays among Ukraine’s allies in providing all the necessary equipment and materials to be effective, including tanks, missiles and jets.
And Kuleba took the chance to insist that Kyiv needs more of these.
“The discussion that we’re having now with the German government is on providing Taurus long-range missiles — France and the United Kingdom already did so.” Berlin has debated providing Taurus cruise missiles, which have a range of more than 500 kilometers, since Germany would prefer Ukrainian forces not use these missiles for attacks on Russian territory.
“There is really not a single objective argument against making this decision” to deliver Taurus missiles, Kuleba countered.
Although Germany has to date provided much weaponry to Ukraine, it has also been criticized for its slow decision-making process; meanwhile, countries like Poland have called on Germany to do even more.
Yet Kuleba stressed the gentle nature of his pushing: “I constructively, kindly, without putting any pressure, call on the government of Germany to make this decision that makes sense.”
“It will help our counter-defensive, and therefore it will help to end the war sooner,” he added.
Kuleba also appealed to countries beyond Germany, calling “on all EU member states who operate F-16s [figher jets] to join the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway in contributing to the aviation coalition — not only in trainings, but also with planes.”
This “is something that is easy to do now,” he said.