Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskyy has a message for Russia, ‘pass this on to Putin’
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By Smartencyclopedia Newsroom *

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has confirmed that counteroffensive and defensive actions are currently underway against Russian forces. Speaking at a news conference in Kyiv alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Zelenskyy responded to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement regarding Ukraine’s counteroffensive and the significant losses suffered by Ukrainian forces. While Zelenskyy acknowledged the ongoing operations, he refrained from disclosing specific details about the stage or phase of the actions.

Although Ukrainian authorities have not officially declared a full-scale counteroffensive, reports of fiercer fighting and the deployment of reserve troops suggest an escalation of the conflict. Ukraine’s General Staff announced that heavy battles had taken place, with 34 clashes reported in the industrial east of the country. The clashes involved Russian forces defending themselves and launching air and artillery strikes in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Recent influxes of military equipment, including high-tech and top-of-the-line weaponry, from Western countries have raised expectations about their deployment and effectiveness against entrenched Russian positions. Ukrainian commanders in the city of Bakhmut, which previously experienced intense fighting, have consistently used the language of counteroffensive and defensive operations to describe ongoing activities.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar highlighted the epicenter of the fighting in the eastern Donetsk region, specifically mentioning heavy battles in Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Marinka. Valerii Shershen, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s armed forces in Zaporizhzhia, confirmed efforts to identify weaknesses in Russia’s defense in the western region.

In response to the escalating conflict, Ukraine’s nuclear energy agency, Energoatom, placed the last operating reactor at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, in “cold shutdown” mode. This precautionary measure involves inserting control rods into the reactor core to halt the nuclear fission reaction. The plant’s other five reactors had already been shut down due to concerns about their vulnerability amid the ongoing conflict.

Ukrainian authorities reported that at least six civilians have been killed across the country in Russian attacks utilizing Iranian-made Shahed drones, missiles, and artillery. Three people were killed and dozens wounded in an attack on the Black Sea port of Odesa, while two individuals lost their lives in the town of Orekhova in the Zaporizhzhia region. In the Kharkiv region, a 29-year-old man was killed, and several others were wounded during drone attacks.

The Ukrainian air force claimed to have shot down a significant number of Shahed drones and missiles launched by Russian forces. However, amidst the intensifying conflict and civilian casualties, attention has also turned to the declining water levels caused by the breach of the Kakhovka dam. The ecological impact and potential destruction of protected natural areas in the Kherson region due to flooding have raised concerns.

The situation in Ukraine continues to be closely monitored by international actors and humanitarian organizations due to the increasing need for essential resources and the escalation of violence.

Source: Various news agencies.

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