Ukraine initiates counter-offensive actions against Russia, Zelensky says

Zelensky is claiming progress while Russian President Vladimir Putin is saying that the counter-offensive is failing

Volodymyr Zelensky
Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has confirmed that his country’s counter-offensive against Russia has started.

Zelensky said that the counteroffensive and defensive actions are in action, but he did not provide any details.

"Counteroffensive and defensive actions are taking place in Ukraine: at which stage I will not talk in detail," Zelensky said on Saturday.

He was addressing a press conference in Kyiv with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who, on his part, accused Russia of flooding from the breached Kakhovka dam.

Thousand fled their homes because of the flooding, sparking fears of humanitarian and environmental disasters. Ukraine accuses Russia of blowing up the dam, while Moscow says Kyiv fired on it.

Zelensky comments arrived after Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Kyiv's long-expected counteroffensive was failing and with heavy casualties.

"It's interesting what Putin said about our counteroffensive. It is important that Russia always feels this: that they do not have long left, in my opinion," Zelensky said.

He also said that Ukraine's military commanders were in a positive mood.

Fighting has escalated in the south and east of Ukraine, and Ukrainian troops are reported to have advanced in the east near Bakhmut and in the south near Zaporizhzhia, and have carried out long-range strikes on Russian targets.

But assessing the reality on the front lines is difficult, with the two warring sides presenting contrasting narratives: Ukraine claiming progress and Russia that it is fighting off attacks.

Trudeau announced 500 million Canadian dollars in new military aid for Ukraine during the unannounced visit.

A joint statement issued after the talks said Canada supports Ukraine becoming a Nato member "as soon as conditions allow for it", adding that the issue would be discussed at the Nato Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July.