President Volodymyr Zelensky has acknowledged battlefield progress has been “slower than desired”, weeks into Ukraine’s military offensive to recapture areas occupied by Russia.
“Some people believe this is a Hollywood movie and expect results now. It’s not,” he told the BBC. What’s at stake is people’s lives.”
Ukraine says its counter-offensive has reclaimed eight villages so far in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk to the east.
Mr Zelensky said the military push was not going easily because 200,000 sq km (77,220 sq miles) of Ukrainian territory had been mined by Russian forces.
“Whatever some might want, including attempts to pressure us, with all due respect, we will advance on the battlefield the way we deem best,” Mr Zelensky added.
He reinforced the need for Ukraine to be given security guarantees from Nato but said ultimately the goal was membership of the defensive alliance.
Nato’s secretary general made clear this week that no plan was on the table to issue an invitation to Ukraine at next month’s summit in Lithuania.
“[Jens] Stoltenberg knows my position,” the Ukrainian leader said “We’ve told them numerous times: ‘Don’t knock the ground from under our feet.'”