Zelenskiy says Ukraine ready to launch counteroffensive

FILE PHOTO: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at a meeting of the European Political Community in Bulboaca

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine is ready to launch its long-awaited counteroffensive to recapture Russian-occupied territory, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in an interview published on Saturday.

"We strongly believe that we will succeed,” Zelenskiy told the Wall Street Journal.

"I don’t know how long it will take. To be honest, it can go a variety of ways, completely different. But we are going to do it, and we are ready."

Kyiv hopes a counteroffensive to reclaim territory will change the dynamics of the war that has raged since Russia invaded its smaller neighbour 15 months ago.

Zelenskiy said last month Ukraine needed to wait for more Western armoured vehicles arrived before launching the counteroffensive. He has been on a diplomatic push to maintain Western support, seeking more military aid and weapons, which is key for Ukraine to succeed in its plans.

Russia holds swaths of Ukrainian territory in the east, south and southeast.

A long spell of dry weather in some parts of Ukraine has driven anticipation that the counteroffensive might be imminent. Over the past several weeks Ukraine has increased it strikes on Russian ammunition depots and logistical routes.

On Saturday Ukraine's military said in a daily report that Mariinka in the Donetsk region in the east was the focus of fighting. Ukrainian forces repelled all 14 Russian troops' attacks there, the report said.

(Reporting by Olena Harmash; Editing by William Mallard)