Zelenskiy gives the signal that the offensive has begun

(Bloomberg) – President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has given his strongest signal yet that Ukraine’s much-discussed ground offensive is underway – a day after Russia’s Vladimir Putin acknowledged it, and commanders Kiev’s military pointed to small advances on the eastern front, including near the disputed town of Bakhmut. The counter-offensive is believed to be active in at least four areas and comes amid continued Russian missile and drone bombardments of targets across Ukraine, often but not exclusively targeted at the capital.

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“Counter-offensive and defensive actions are being taken in Ukraine,” Zelenskiy said in Kyiv as he stood alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “I don’t comment on the scale. I am in contact with our commanders. Everyone is in a positive mood. Pass this on to Putin. The Ukrainian also said it was ‘interesting’ that Putin felt compelled to comment on the counter-offensive, adding that it implied ‘the Russians feel they won’t be ‘on Ukrainian territory’ for long’ .

Trudeau traveled to Kyiv a month before a crucial NATO summit in Lithuania, which Zelenskiy is expected to attend as part of his effort to secure a path to membership. Canada has pledged another $375 million in aid to Ukraine. Elsewhere, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has raised the possibility of talks with Putin “soon”. Rescue efforts continue in response to flooding caused by the Kakhovka dam collapse, and as water levels drop, the scale of the environmental disaster – and the urgent threat to human health – is becoming clearer .

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