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Ukraine war: Counteroffensive 'progressing', Odesa strikes, Western tanks 'burning' Putin claims

A destroyed tank by the side of the road near the village of Kamyanka, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023.
A destroyed tank by the side of the road near the village of Kamyanka, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023. Copyright Vadim Ghirda/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Vadim Ghirda/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AFP/AP
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All the latest developments from the war in Ukraine.

Ukrainian counteroffensive progressing, says NATO chief

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Ukraine's army is moving forward on the battlefield, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday. 

"The more territory the Ukrainians can liberate, the better their position will be at the negotiating table," he said during a meeting with US President Joe Biden. 

His remarks came as the US announced a 301 million euro package of military aid for Kyiv, aimed at strengthening its air defences. 

Ukraine says it is continuing to gain ground against Russia, with its forces claiming on Tuesday to have captured more territory in the direction of Bakhmut if only by some 250 metres.

NATO head Stoltenberg agreed there had been progress, but added it was still too early to make an assessment. 

"The support that we are providing together to Ukraine is now making a difference on the battlefield as we speak," he said. "It's still early days."

Russia has not acknowledged any Ukrainian advances. 

Moscow free to destroy enemies' infrastructure: Medvedev

Russia's former president said on Wednesday there were no "moral limits" stopping Moscow from targeting hostile states' undersea communication cables.

Dmitry Medvedev made the comments on Telegram given what he called Western complicity in the Nord Stream pipeline blasts last year.

This comes as US media report Washington was aware of a Ukrainian plot to blow them up. Kyiv has denied it destroyed the pipelines.

Unexplained explosions in September ruptured both Nord Stream 1 and the newly built Nord Stream 2, carrying gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

The incident fuelled energy price rises and has been labelled an environmental catastrophe, as vast amounts of as were released into the atmosphere. 

'Catastrophic' losses inflicted on Ukraine - Putin

Russia's President claimed on Tuesday his army has mauled Ukrainian forces, destroying armour supplied by the West. 

It is the second time since Friday that Vladimir Putin has said his army is repelling the Ukrainian assault, despite Kyiv's claims it is advancing. 

Ukrainian "losses are approaching a level that can be described as catastrophic", he told Russian military bloggers and war reporters, adding Russia's losses were "ten times lower".

Putin claimed Kyiv has lost "about 25% or perhaps 30%" of its Western equipment, saying German Leopard tanks and US Bradley armoured vehicles were "burning really well". 

Euronews could not independently verify this claim. 

In the televised address, Putin suggested his troops could seize more land in Ukraine to protect Russian territory - a threat with questionable credibility because the Kremlin lacks full control over areas it already annexed.

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He also said a new troop mobilisation was not on the cards, as many Russians have feared. But he did not rule out one later. 

Deadly Russian missile attack on Odesa

Three people died and 13 were injured on Wednesday in a Russian strike on the port of Odesa in southern Ukraine, according to local officials. 

The three dead are employees of a commercial warehouse hit by Russian cruise missiles launched from a ship in the Black Sea, wrote the Odesa military administration on Telegram.

Seven other employees were injured and "there could be people under the rubble", it added. 

The attack destroyed 1,000m2 of warehouses and scorched a further 400m2. 

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Six people were injured in other places in Odesa, including a business centre, educational institution, residential complex, restaurants and shops. 

Ukrainian anti-aircraft defence shot down two of the missiles, according to the military administration.

Odesa, whose historic centre was inscribed on UNESCO's list of World Heritage in Danger in January, has been bombed several times since the start of the Russian invasion.

Russia faking websites to sow war disinfo, claims France

France’s government accused Russia on Tuesday of operating a long-running online manipulation campaign, aimed at spreading confusion and false information about the Ukraine war.

VIGINUM, the French agency responsible for fighting foreign digital interference, claimed it identified 355 domains posing as European media outlets, including those of French daily newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro, plus France's Foreign Ministry. 

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It said the content spread on the fake sites denigrated the Ukrainian armed forces and amplified criticism of sanctions against Russia and the impact of Ukrainian refugees on other European countries.

"No attempt at manipulation will distract France from its support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s war of aggression," the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement. 

The Russian Embassy in France did not immediately comment.

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