By William Miller, special correspondent in Ukraine. Eurasia Business News, June 10, 2023

Ukrainian soldiers serving an artillery piece near Bakhmout in 2023.

The Ukrainian military’s long-anticipated counteroffensive against occupying Russian forces has begun. This was announced  by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky at a press conference.

Answering a journalist’s question whether the statement of the Russian president Vladimir Putin about the beginning of the counteroffensive of the Ukrainian armed forces was true, President Zelensky said that counteroffensive operations are underway, but he would not say at what stage.

Ukrainian officials have confirmed that their forces are on the offensive in the Bakhmut region, where they have reportedly gained territory.

The initial phase of the current counteroffensive operations will likely be the most probing, with Ukrainian forces engaging in shaping operations ahead of the counteroffensive.

It won’t likely unfold as a single grand operation, but rather as a series of probing attacks aimed at testing Russian weaknesses and looking for vulnerabilities on the frontline.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) has observed a general uptick in military activity across the entire front line, not all of it part of the Ukrainian counter-offensive effort.

The destruction of the Kakhovka dam has changed the geography and topography on the ground. The situation in the flood zone in the southern Kherson region controlled by Russian forces is described as “ catastrophic” with people abandoned on rooftops without food and water.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for international assistance in rescuing people from parts of the southern Kherson region.

In addition, Russia said its forces had fought a two-hour battle with Ukrainian troops in the early hours of Thursday in the Zaporizhia region. The Russian Ministry of Defense claims that its troops have defeated two columns of armored vehicles of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in this regions over the past hours.

Moreover, the Russian military repelled five attacks by the Ukrainian armed forces in the area of Artemovsk (Bakhmut) in the direction of the settlements of Kleshcheevka, Dubovo-Vasilevka, Yahidne and Andreevka in a day, said the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov at a briefing on Saturday June 10.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his visit to Kyiv on Saturday, June 10.

The Government of Canada will provide Ukraine with a new package of military assistance worth $ 500 million. In addition, Ottawa will take part in the aviation coalition.

472 days since February 24, 2022

Russia launched a military operation at 04:00 in the morning of February 24, with the official goal to “demilitarize Ukraine”, remove the Ukrainian government and protect the right of Russian leaving in Eastern Ukraine. In a televised address to the Russians, President Vladimir Putin said that circumstances “require decisive and immediate action from us, the people’s republics of Donbass  have asked for help.”

The Western countries strongly condemned the Russian attack against Ukraine, and demanded an immediate ceasefire. After the Russian recognition of the separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk on February 21 and the entry of Russian troops in the Ukrainian territory in early morning on February 24, the United States and European countries have imposed massive sanctions against Russian state-owned banks, banned technology exports to Russia, denied access to Russia to the US financial market and imposed individual sanctions on Russian officials and their relatives.

The European Union has even taken sanctions against the Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov and other prominent Russian officials. The United States, the European Union and the other G7 member states have been massively supplying Ukraine with funds, weapons, military vehicles and training of troops.

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