Ukraine begins counteroffensive against Russia; Dam explosion added to War Crimes total

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a joint news conference with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday. Efrem Lukatsky/AP

From NPR:

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday gave his first formal confirmation that Ukraine’s long-awaited offensive was underway against Russian troops. 

“Counteroffensive and defensive actions are taking place in Ukraine. At what stage, I will not say in detail,” Zelenskyy said in a joint news conference with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

The Canadian leader pledged an additional $375 million in military aid to Ukraine. His country has provided some $6 billion since Russia launched a full-scale invasion more than 15 months ago.

From the NYT:

Success is not guaranteed. Throughout the war, the Ukrainian army, with deeply motivated troops, creative military operations and advanced Western weaponry, has outperformed Russia’s military. But the Ukrainians have also found it difficult to dislodge the Russians from their entrenched defensive positions in the last few months, with the front lines barely moving. 

American intelligence agencies have assessed that the most likely scenarios are smaller Ukrainian victories in the opening stage of the fighting, like retaking some parts of the Donbas or pushing Russia out of agricultural and mining areas in southeastern Ukraine.

VOA (background from May of 2023)