Zelenskyy says Ukrainian counterattacks are under way, but stays coy on details

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President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday that Ukrainian counteroffensive operations were underway, but remained discreet on details beyond sending a message to the Kremlin that his top generals were in high spirits.

Zelenskyy shrugged dismissively at a press conference in Kyiv when asked to comment after Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Ukrainian forces had certainly begun their much-vaunted counteroffensive.

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“Counteroffensive and defensive actions are taking place in Ukraine, but I will not say in detail what stage they are at,” he said, listing Ukraine’s top military brass by name.

“They are all in a positive mood. Pass that on to Putin,” he said with a smile alongside visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Ukraine has said for months it plans to conduct a major counteroffensive to recapture tracts of land occupied by Russia in the south and east, but it is enforcing strict operational silence and has denied it has begun the main operation for now.

Russia says Ukraine launched a big offensive push this week, but that Kyiv’s forces failed to breach its defenses and also sustained heavy casualties.

With scant independent reporting from the front lines, it has been difficult to assess the state of the fighting.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Ukraine had conducted significant operations in several eastern and southern parts in the last 48 hours, with Russian defenses breached in places.

“In some areas, Ukrainian forces have likely made good progress and penetrated the first line of Russian defenses. In others, Ukrainian progress has been slower,” it said, characterizing the Russian military’s performance as mixed.

“Some (Russian) units are likely conducting credible maneuver defense operations while others have pulled back in some disorder, amid increased reports of Russian casualties as they withdraw through their own minefields.”

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Ukraine’s army reports new gains against Russian forces near Bakhmut

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