(Bloomberg) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Ukraine’s counteroffensive has “definitely” begun, though he said its military hadn’t achieved any breakthroughs during “very intense” battles in the past five days. “All the counteroffensive attempts made so far have failed,” Putin told reporters in Sochi on Friday in televised remarks. Ukraine’s “offensive potential” remains, he said, and Russian forces “will proceed from these realities in developing our actions in the near future.” 

While the Russian army still doesn’t have sufficient modern weapons, production is improving rapidly, according to Putin, who also said his country will begin moving tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus next month. Meanwhile, Moscow is importing supplies from Tehran in order to manufacture Iranian-designed drones, the White House said, citing intelligence findings. 

Ukraine faced another missile and drone attack on Friday as its ground offensive picks up steam. At least one donated Leopard 2A4 tank has already been destroyed. Russian media reported what it called a Ukrainian missile strike on Arbatska Strilka along the western shore of Crimea. Evacuation efforts continue in Kherson, downstream from the Kakhovka dam breach. 

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