Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that counteroffensive actions were under way against invading Russian forces in his country but declined to divulge additional details.
The Ukrainian leader made the comment on Saturday at a news conference in Kyiv, while standing alongside visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
He was responding to a question about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement a day earlier that Ukraine’s counteroffensive had started and that Ukrainian forces were taking “significant losses”.
Zelenskyy said that “counteroffensive, defensive actions are taking place in Ukraine. I will not speak about which stage or phase they are in.”
“I am in touch with our commanders of different directions every day,” he added, citing the names of five of Ukraine’s top military leaders.
“Everyone is positive. Pass this on to Putin.”
Top Ukrainian authorities have stopped short of announcing a full-blown counteroffensive was under way, though some Western analysts have said fiercer fighting and reported use of reserve troops suggests it was.
In his nightly video address, Zelenskyy provided few details while urging troops to keep fighting.
“Thank you to all those who hold their positions and those who advance,” he said, citing the eastern and southern fronts, where fighting is heaviest.
Ukraine’s general staff said its forces had repelled enemy attacks around Bakhmut and Marinka, sites of heavy clashes in the east. Russian forces, it said, “continue to suffer heavy losses which they are trying to conceal”.