Ukraine counteroffensive underway, Zelenskyy confirms with Trudeau

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has confirmed counteroffensive actions against Russian forces, though he did not disclose further information. During a news conference in Kyiv, Zelenskyy stood alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and responded to a query about Russia’s claim that Ukrainian forces were taking “significant losses.” The Ukrainian leader acknowledged that counteroffensive and defensive actions were taking place, though he did not specify which stage or phase they were in.

“Everyone is positive. Pass this on to Putin.”

While top Ukrainian authorities have not announced a full-scale counteroffensive, recent reports of fiercer fighting and the use of reserve troops suggest it may be underway. In his nightly video address, Zelenskyy urged troops to continue fighting, thanking those holding their positions and those advancing. Ukraine’s general staff reported that its forces had repelled enemy attacks around Bakhmut and Marinka in the east, and that Russian forces were suffering heavy losses.

Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar clarified on Telegram that the military would not issue any statements until battlefield positions were clear. Ukraine has been planning a significant counteroffensive to recapture land occupied by Russia in the south and east, but has enforced strict operational silence for now, denying the commencement of the main operation.

The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence reported that Ukraine had conducted “significant” operations in several eastern and southern parts in the past 48 hours, with Russian defences breached in some places. It also characterised the Russian military’s performance as mixed, with some units likely conducting credible manoeuvre defence operations while others retreated in disorder.

Ukraine’s counteroffensive is expected to use thousands of troops trained and equipped by the West, but Russia has built vast fortifications in occupied territory, and Kyiv lacks air supremacy. Patrick Bury, a defence and security expert at the University of Bath in the UK, told Al Jazeera that the counteroffensive was likely to be a “long game” and that its initial operations would “probably be the most bloody part for the Ukrainians.”

The south is seen as a key strategic priority for a Ukrainian push that could aim to recapture Europe’s largest nuclear power plant and cut the Russian land bridge to the occupied Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, dividing Russian forces. The fighting in the south has drawn renewed attention following the destruction of the Russian-controlled Kakhovka dam along the Dnipro River.

During his visit to Ukraine, Trudeau pledged US$375 million in new military aid and announced US$7.5 million for humanitarian assistance for the flood response. The UK government also said it will give US$20 million in humanitarian aid to those affected by the flooding. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, meanwhile, said he wanted to continue speaking with Putin and plans to do so again “soon.”

World News

Matthew Coles

Matthew is a British journalist with a unique flair in reporting about the latest news and events happening in Europe. Matthew focuses on producing well-researched, balanced, and narrative-driven content related to both national and regional interests across various European countries. He is passionate about discovering the diverse cultures found within Europe and showcasing them through his insightful articles.

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