Zelenskyy says 'counter-offensive actions' underway in Ukraine

ITV News international correspondent Emma Murphy reports from Dnipro, Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has confirmed c'ounteroffensive and defensive actions 'are underway against Russian forces, days after a catastrophic dam breach.

Mr Zelenskyy told a press conference on Saturday his top Ukrainian commanders were in a “positive” mindset as their troops engaged in intensified fighting on parts of the front line.

The Ukrainian leader made the careful comments at a news conference while hosting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Top Ukrainian authorities have stopped short of announcing a full-blown counteroffensive was underway, though some Western analysts have said fiercer fighting and reported use of reserve troops suggests it was.

He was responded to a question about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comment a day earlier that Ukraine’s counteroffensive was underway and that Ukrainian forces were taking “significant losses.”

Justin Trudeau visits an exhibition of destroyed vehicles in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday. Credit: AP

Mr Zelenskyy said: “I am in touch with our commanders of different directions every day."

He added: "Everyone is positive. Pass this on to Putin.”

Mr Trudeau is the first foreign leader to visit Ukraine since devastating floods caused by a breach in a Dnieper River dam, offered up monetary, military and moral support.

During a visit to Kyiv on Saturday, he pledged $500 million Canadian dollars (Nearly £297m) in new military aid, on top of more than $8 billion (£4.75bn) that Canada has already provided since the war began in February 2022.

He also announced $10m (almost £6m) for humanitarian assistance for the flood response.

Mr Trudeau said the dam’s collapse was “a direct consequence of Russia’s war,” but he didn't blame Moscow directly.

Ukraine’s General Staff said “heavy battles” were ongoing as the weekend began, with 34 clashes over the previous day in the country’s industrial east.

It gave no details but said Russian forces were “defending themselves” and launching air and artillery strikes in Ukraine’s southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

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