(Bloomberg) -- President Volodymyr Zelenskiy gave his strongest signal yet that Ukraine’s much-discussed ground offensive is under way — a day after Russia’s Vladimir Putin acknowledged as much, and as Kyiv’s military commanders pointed to small advances on the eastern front, including near the contested city of Bakhmut. The counteroffensive is thought to be active in at least four areas and comes against a backdrop of continued missile and drone bombardments by Russia of targets across Ukraine, often but not exclusively targeted at the capital.
“Counteroffensive 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 touch with our commanders. Everyone is in a positive mood. Pass this on to Putin.” The Ukrainian also said it was “interesting” that Putin had felt compelled to comment on the counteroffensive, adding that it implies “Russians feel they won’t stay” 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 push to secure a path for membership. Canada pledged another $375 million in aid for Ukraine. Elsewhere, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz held out the possibility of talks with Putin “soon.” Rescue efforts continue in response to flooding caused by the Kakhovka Dam collapse, and as water levels recede, the scale of the environmental disaster - and the urgent threat to human health - is coming into focus.
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