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Ukraine war: Russia 'will lose' says Zelenskyy, Kyiv claims gains near Bakhmut, Denmark F-16s

Ukrainian soldiers carry "Igla" rocket launchers to their position near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, May 4, 2023.
Ukrainian soldiers carry "Igla" rocket launchers to their position near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, May 4, 2023. Copyright Roman Chop/AP
Copyright Roman Chop/AP
By Euronews with AP, AFP
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All the latest developments from the war in Ukraine.

Ukraine nibbling away at ground near Bakhmut

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Ukraine recaptured a small area from Russian forces last week near the eastern city of Bakhmut, the country's deputy defence minister claimed on Monday. 

There was no change on the southern front, however. 

"An additional three square kilometres were liberated" near Bakhmut in seven days, said Ganna Maliar on Ukrainian television, adding Ukraine's armed forces had taken more than 43 km2 since June.

Bakhmut, in the hotly contested Donetsk region, was captured by Russian forces in May. This came after months of deadly fighting, involving the notorious Wagner mercenary group. 

"In the south, the situation has not changed significantly, our defenders continue to advance towards (the occupied cities) of Berdyansk and Melitopol," continued Maliar, without detailing whether concrete gains were made.

Ukraine launched a massive counter offensive in June to try and liberate regions occupied by Moscow.

This operation has so far achieved only modest gains, capturing a handful of villages after more than two months of fighting. 

Russian forces have had months to fortify their positions with trenches, anti-tank traps and extensive minefields covering hundreds of kilometres.

Russia recently launched an attack of its own in northeastern Ukraine, forcing civilians to evacuate, though Maliar claimed the Ukrainian line was holding firm.

The Russian Ministry of Defence said in its daily report its soldiers have "improved" their positions in this sector.

UNESCO training psychologists for trauma victims

UNESCO has launched a programme to train 15,000 school psychologists to help tackle the mental health impacts of the war on Ukrainian students and teachers.  

In coordination with the Ukrainian Ministry of Education, the UN agency said on Monday it was "committed to helping Ukraine improve mental health and psychosocial support in the education sector". 

According to UNESCO, 75% of Ukrainian school children have suffered from stress and 26% of adolescents have post-traumatic stress syndrome. 

"There is... an urgent need to... help them recover from the trauma and emotional distress induced by the war," it said in a statement. 

The operation will be financially supported by Japan and carried out in two stages, though the UN organisation did not specify how much it will cost. 

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In recent months, UNESCO and its partners have trained 117 psychologists across 24 regions of Ukraine. 

Vasilisa Stepanenko/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.
A boy poses for photo with an American Pit Bull Terrier "Bice" in the Centre for Social and Psychological Rehabilitation in Boyarka close Kyiv, Ukraine in December 2022.Vasilisa Stepanenko/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.

'Russia will lose this war,' says Zelenskyy

Ukraine's president has said he is convinced Russia's invasion will fail, during a visit to Denmark on Monday. 

Volodymyr Zelensky made the claim as Denmark and the Netherlands announced the upcoming delivery of F-16 fighter jets to his country. 

"Today, we are convinced that Russia will lose this war," he told the crowd gathered near the Danish parliament in Copenhagen. 

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The 19 F-16 planes promised by Denmark will be delivered gradually to Kyiv: Six towards the end of the year, eight next year and five the following, according to the Danish Prime Minister.

"The main thing is what we prove with our victory, our cooperation," said Zelesnkyy. "Together, we prove that life has value, that people matter."

"Freedom is important, Europe is important", he continued. 

A day earlier, Zelenskyy hailed the "historic" decision by the Netherlands and Denmark to deliver a total of 61 American-made F-16 fighter jets. 

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The Russian ambassador to Denmark denounced the move as "an escalation". 

"Denmark seeks, by its deeds and its words, to leave Ukraine no choice but to continue the confrontation. military with Russia," said Ambassador Vladimir Barbin. 

He added the decision "pushes Ukraine into the abyss and condemns its people to new victims."

Drone attacks foiled

Russia says it foiled two Ukrainian drone attacks on Monday morning, which caused no casualties, the Russian Defence Ministry says. 

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At around 06:50 local time (3:50 GMT) on Monday, an attempt by Kyiv to carry out "a terrorist attack (using an) unmanned aerial vehicle (...) was foiled", the ministry said on Telegram.

Detected by air defences in the Moscow region, the craft was "neutralised by electronic warfare means" and then "crashed near the village of Pokrovskoye, in the Odintsovo district", south-west of the capital, the Russian Defence Ministry added.

Another "terrorist attack by the Kyiv regime" was foiled at 08:16 (05:16 GMT), when Russian air defence shot down a drone in the Istra district, also in the Moscow region, to the north-west of the Russian capital, the same source said.

According to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, following these incidents, Moscow's Vnukovo and Domodedovo international airports temporarily imposed restrictions on departures and arrivals and redirected several flights to other locations.

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Drone attacks inside Russian territory have been on the increase for several weeks, usually without causing any damage or casualties, and have targeted the Russian capital in particular.

Kremlin 'expanding its military structures in the face of wartime realities'

British military intelligence says the Kremlin is "expanding its military structures in the face of wartime realities." 

The Ministry of Defence makes the assessment in its latest Monday morning briefing, and says one new measure will mean that units currently operating in the Kherson region, including the 22nd Army Corps, are likely to be amalgamated into a new structure called the 18th Combined Arms Army. 

The British MoD says the new 18th CAA is likely to consist mostly of mobilised personnel and to focus on defensive security operations in the south of Ukraine. 

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"Russia likely aims to free up more experienced units to fight on key axes.2 

"There is a realistic possibility that this has led to the recent re-deployment of airborne forces from Kherson to the heavily contested Orikhiv sector," the Ministry of Defence adds.

Protests in Poland and Finland against Putin

AFP
People demonstrate in front of the Russian Embassy in Warsaw, poland on August 20, 2023 marking the third anniversary of the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei NavalnyAFP

Several hundred people took to the streets of the Finnish capital Helsinki, and the west coast city of Turku on Sunday to mark the third anniversary of the poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny. 

And in the Polish capital Warsaw, protesters gathered outside the Russian embassy waving banners which read "Putin the killer" and "Freedom for Political Prisoners."

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