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Ukraine war: More villages liberated, EU heads back counteroffensive, 'Africa cannot remain silent'

A fire after missiles hit a multi-story apartment building in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, Tuesday, June 13, 2023.
A fire after missiles hit a multi-story apartment building in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, Tuesday, June 13, 2023. Copyright AP/Dnipro Regional Administration
Copyright AP/Dnipro Regional Administration
By Euronews with AP
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All the latest developments from the war in Ukraine.

'Monster' Russian strike on Zelenskyy hometown

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At least 10 people were reportedly killed in Ukraine's central Dnipropetrovsk region on Tuesday, following a dawn missile attacks on several buildings. 

Head of Kryvyi Rih's military administration Oleksandr Vilkul wrote on Telegram that "high-precision monsters" hit the city in several places, including a five-story apartment. 

Kryvyi Rih in central Ukrainian is the home city of Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy. 

"There are victims in extremely serious condition, there are probably people under the rubble," he said earlier in the morning, "All the emergency services are hard at work and the work of the firefighters is still in progress." 

In Kyiv, night strikes by "cruise missiles" were also reported. 

"All enemy targets in the airspace around Kyiv have been successfully detected and destroyed," said the Ukrainian capital's military administration. 

The mayor of Kharkiv in the northeast announced drones had been launched "against civilian infrastructure", damaging a local business and hangar. 

Ukraine hails 'difficult' counter-offensive gains

Kyiv said on Monday its troops had recaptured seven villages from Russian forces along an approximately 100km front in the southeast since its counter-offensive began last week. 

"Seven villages have been liberated," said Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Malyar on Telegram, referring in particular to several localities taken over in the Zaporizhja region. 

Russian officials did not confirm Ukraine's gains, which Euronews could not verify. 

President Zelenskyy maintained the "difficult" counter-offensive is "progressing" on Monday. 

“The battles are tough, but our movement is there, and that is very important,” he said in his nightly video address.

Ukraine's leader added rainy weather is challenging his troops and that he's discussed with his military commanders “which points of the front we need to strengthen and what actions we can take to break more Russian positions.”

Zelenskyy confirmed the beginning of the Ukrainian counter-offensive on Saturday after Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed the Ukrainian forces were taking “significant losses” a day earlier. 

Western analysts have cautioned the attempt to rid Ukraine of entrenched and powerfully armed Russian troops could take years, while the success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive is far from certain. 

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France, Germany and Poland back Ukraine's counter-offensive

The leaders of France, Germany and Poland met in Paris for talks focusing on military support for Ukraine’s counteroffensive, including future security guarantees on Monday. 

The three leaders insisted they would continue to support Ukraine for as long as necessary ahead of the NATO summit in July. 

French President Emmanuel Macron promised to continue the deliveries of weapons, ammunition and armoured vehicles for the counter-offensive.

He added the Ukrainian assault should be "as successful as possible to launch a negotiation phase [with Russia] under the right conditions."

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Sarah Meyssonnier/AP
Polish President Andrzej Duda, left, French President Emmanuel Macron, center, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attend a joint press conference on Monday.Sarah Meyssonnier/AP

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish President Andrzej Duda echoed Macron. 

“It is time that Putin finally recognizes that his plan has failed," Scholz said. 

Duda, who talked with Zelenskyy on Sunday, said Ukraine's victory will only be achieved by ousting Russian military forces from occupied territories. 

The three leaders, however, refused to be drawn on the detail of future security guarantees for Ukraine over the longer term.

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Ukrainian F-16 pilot training may begin by summer

Ukrainian pilots could begin training to fly F-16 fighter jets as soon as this summer, the Dutch defence minister has said. 

This would be the first step toward supplying Kyiv with a powerful, long-term capability in its war with Russia.

NATO allies the Netherlands and Denmark are leading an international coalition to train pilots and support staff, maintain aircraft and ultimately supply F-16s to Ukraine. 

The Netherlands previously said it aimed to start training Ukrainian pilots "as soon as possible", but stopped short of detailing when such training could begin. 

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A final decision has not yet been taken on a request from Kyiv to supply dozens of F-16s. The US-backed training program will include Belgium and Luxembourg, while France and Britain have offered assistance.

While adopting F-16s will not impact the war in the short-term, it will bring Ukraine more in line with NATO military capabilities. 

Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren described this as "very important for the future." 

"When the war is over Ukraine has to be able to defend itself to deter Russia from trying again," she added. "I think...that's what the Ukrainians also see."

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'Africa cannot remain silent'

Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso said on Monday that Africa could not "remain silent" amid the Ukraine war. 

His comments came a few days before several heads of state on the continent will attempt conflict mediation in Kyiv and Moscow.

"Faced with such a tragedy, Africa cannot remain silent or indifferent", declared the Congolese leader during a press briefing. 

He is part of a mission of several African presidents travelling to Kyiv and Moscow on Friday and Saturday, where they will meet Zelenskyy and then Putin.

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The delegation will carry "a message of peace, at least of appeasement" to "make the belligerents understand the suffering caused by this war to the weak peoples of the world and in particular to the peoples of Africa", said Nguesso.

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