Ukraine is staging counter-attacks against Russian troops, official says

'Help to us is increasing every minute and the strength of the enemy is decreasing every minute,' official says; Kyiv's top diplomat says Germany vowed to send more weapons to support the fight against invading Russian forces

Ynet, news agencies|
Ukraine is able to launch counter-attacks against invading Russian forces even as it defends itself, a military adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday.
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  • "Help to us is increasing every minute and the strength of the enemy is decreasing every minute. We're not only defending but also counter-attacking," he said in a televised briefing.
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    קייב אוקראינה חיילים שומרים ב כיכר העצמאות בעיר
    קייב אוקראינה חיילים שומרים ב כיכר העצמאות בעיר
    Ukrainian soldier stands guard at Kyiv's central Maidan Square
    (Photo: EPA)
    Fighting in the Eastern European country has entered its eighth day, as Russian advancements continue to face fierce Ukrainian resistance.
    Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Thursday said Germany had told Ukraine it would send more weapons to support the fight against invading Russian forces.
    Kuleba did not say what kind of weapons Germany planned to send or when they would be delivered.
    Meanwhile, South Korea has approved $10 million in emergency humanitarian aid including medical supplies for the Ukrainian people and refugees.
    Notwithstanding the Ukrainian counter-offensive, the country's southern port of Mariupol was surrounded by Russian troops, according to Anton Herashchenko, an interior ministry adviser.
    "The occupiers want to turn it into besieged Leningrad," he said, referring to Nazi Germany's siege of the then-Soviet city where about 1.5 million people died during two years of blockade.
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    נזק לציוד צבאי במריופול, אוקראינה
    נזק לציוד צבאי במריופול, אוקראינה
    Ukrainian military equipment damaged in Russian shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine
    (Photo: AP)
    Also on Thursday, Hennadiy Laguta, the regional governor of the port city of Kherson said in an online post that Russian forces have occupied the regional administration building.
    Russia's defense ministry said it had captured Kherson on Wednesday but Ukraine has said its forces continue to defend the Black Sea port of about 250,000 people.
    Meanwhile, a missile or bomb hit a Bangladeshi-owned cargo ship at the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Olvia on Thursday, killing one of its crew members, and efforts were underway to rescue the others from the vessel, according to the state-run ship's owner.
    The White House said in a statement that U.S. President Joe Biden will speak with the leaders of Australia, India and Japan later on Thursday to discuss the war in Ukraine.
    The so-called Quad leaders, which include Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, will "discuss the war against Ukraine and its implications for the Indo-Pacific," it said.
    The EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine.
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    ג'וזף בורל שר החוץ של האיחוד האירופי
    ג'וזף בורל שר החוץ של האיחוד האירופי
    European Union Foreign Minister Josep Borell
    (Photo: Reuters)
    "This war needs to stop now. I call for an immediate ceasefire. I call for immediate establishment of humanitarian corridors," Borrell wrote on Twitter.
    Borrell added the bloc is standing by Moldova, which is hosting more than 20,000 refugee children fleeing the war.
    Foreign ministers of Southeast Asian countries called for an immediate end to what they called military hostilities in Ukraine and said they believed there was "still room for a peaceful dialogue."
    In a statement that made no mention of Russia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said it stood ready to facilitate, in any possible way, peaceful dialogue. It said it was "deeply troubled by the intensifying gravity" of the situation.
    Meanwhile, the West's efforts to sanction and isolate Russia also pressed on at full throttle as Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called on the European Union to disconnect all Russian banks from the international SWIFT payment system and stop importing energy from Russia.
    "We must strive that all Russian banks are disconnected from SWIFT, we must dare to refuse energy imports from Russia to Europe," Gabrielius Landsbergis said in Vilnius after meeting UK counterpart Liz Truss.
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    (Photo: AP)
    Truss said that the West needs to ensure the Russian economy is crippled so that President Vladimir Putin is unable to continue his invasion of Ukraine.
    "We need to... degrade the Russian economy," she said. "We need to make sure... that the Russian economy is crippled so it is unable to continue to fund Putin and the war machine."
    Meanwhile, The Times newspaper reported that Britain will not be able to sanction Roman Abramovich and other Russian oligarchs for weeks or months because the government has been unable to prove reasonable grounds for designating the businessmen.
    "The Foreign Office and National Crime Agency have been unable to prove that there are 'reasonable grounds' for designating the UK's most prominent oligarchs for sanctions because they have struggled to link their finances to the Putin regime," it said.
    The Russian-Israeli businessman said Wednesday he would sell Chelsea Football Club 19 years after buying it amid growing clamor calling to sanction him due to his ties to Putin.
    Abramovich vowed to donate money from the sale to help victims of the war in Ukraine.
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    Russian-Israeli businessman Roman Abramovich
    Russian-Israeli businessman Roman Abramovich
    Russian-Israeli businessman Roman Abramovich
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Meanwhile, the Kremlin praised Russian troops fighting in Ukraine as heroes who would go down in history and described the deaths of soldiers there as a tragedy.
    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said President Vladimir Putin would convene Russia's Security Council later on Thursday but did not say what the group of top state officials and heads of defense and security agencies would discuss.
    In a briefing with reporters, Peskov dismissed speculation that Russian authorities plan to introduce martial law following its invasion of Ukraine or that they will prevent men from leaving Russia.
    Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation" that it says is not designed to occupy territory but to destroy its southern neighbor's military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.
    Peskov said Russian casualties in the fighting in Ukraine — which the defense ministry put at 498 soldiers in a statement on Wednesday — were a source of grief.
    "Of course, this is a great tragedy for all of us. At the same time, we all admire the heroism of our military," he said.
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    בנייני מגורים הרוסים באזור קייב
    בנייני מגורים הרוסים באזור קייב
    Residential buildings heavily damaged by Russian bombardments outside Kyiv
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Peskov condemned the International Paralympic Committee for barring Russian athletes from the Winter Paralympics in Beijing, calling it a monstrous situation.
    There had been threats of a boycott of the Games from other teams over Russia's invasion of Ukraine last week.
    Peskov said Ukraine was "clearly not in a hurry" to hold to another round of diplomatic talks over the conflict and that he hoped the Ukrainian delegation would be able to attend discussions planned for Thursday.
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