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Ukraine war: Counteroffensive 'fatigue', Moscow's 'plan' to target civilian ships, Hungary EU aid

FILE - Ukrainian army troops receive ammunition, with a Ukrainian flag in the background, in a field on the outskirts of Izyum, Eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, April 15, 2014.
FILE - Ukrainian army troops receive ammunition, with a Ukrainian flag in the background, in a field on the outskirts of Izyum, Eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Copyright Sergei Grits/AP
Copyright Sergei Grits/AP
By Euronews with AP
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All the latest developments from the war in Ukraine.

'Fatigue' in Ukraine's counteroffensive, says Zelenskyy

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Counteroffensive efforts against Russia are going ahead in full swing despite the tiredness on the frontlines, Ukraine's president said on Wednesday. 

“There is fatigue but we will do everything to win against our enemy, and our counteroffensive goes ahead, even if slowly we do everything to repel the enemy,” Volodomyr Zelenskyy told Italian broadcaster Sky TG24. 

The US support remains pivotal in those "difficult times," he said, expecting Washington would continue sending aid to help Ukraine get through the winter without losing on the battlefield. 

Reports of Ukrainian forces making advances around Bakhmut and southern Ukraine have started emerging in recent weeks after months of heavy fighting. 

Ukrainian troops were "continuing to strengthen the positions they hold," a spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun told national television on Wednesday, noting advances were being made "from 100 to 600 metres” in certain areas. 

Moscow plans to target civilian ships in the Black Sea, claims UK

The United Kingdom on Wednesday accused Russia of considering attacking civilian ships in the Black Sea with sea mines.

"Intelligence suggests that Russia is seeking to target civilian ships using the 'humanitarian corridor' in Ukraine in order to disrupt the export of Ukrainian grain," the British Foreign Office wrote in a statement.

Moscow "will certainly want to avoid openly sinking civilian ships and will wrongly blame Ukraine for any attack," he added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's complete disregard for vulnerable civilian lives is reflected in the information, said Britain's top diplomat James Cleverly in a statement. 

Moscow's withdrawal from the grain deal in July, which reimposed its naval blockade in the waters south of Ukraine, has sent tensions in the Black Sea soaring. 

According to London, Russia has destroyed 130 port infrastructure in Ukraine and 300,000 tonnes of grain since July.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the United Kingdom has deployed intelligence assets to monitor Russian activity in the Black Sea.

Last month, London accused Russian forces of attempting to destroy a civilian cargo ship flying the Liberian flag docked at the port of Odesa at the end of August with several missile attacks.

Ukraine to use US-seized Iranian bullets against Russia

Ukrainian forces will be using bullets seized from Iran against Russian troops, the US Central Command said on Wednesday.

Some 1.1 million rounds of bullets seized by a US Navy ship off a "stateless dhow [a type of boat found in the Middle East]" have been transferred to Ukraine, it added. 

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The US said the impounded vessel was being used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to arm Houthi rebels in Yemen’s civil war in violation of a UN Security Council resolution.

The seized 7.62 mm ammunition is compatible with Soviet-era Kalashnikov assault rifles and their many derivatives. Ukraine, as a former Soviet republic, still relies on the Kalashnikov for many of its units.

“With this weapons transfer, the Justice Department’s actions against one authoritarian regime are now directly supporting the Ukrainian people’s fight against another,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

The US has provided more than 300 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades as part of the almost €42 billion in military aid it has sent to help Ukraine.

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Iranian weapons have been regularly used in the war in Ukraine, with Russia long turning to Iranian-made Shahed drones for its aerial attacks.

Hungary hints it will continue to block EU aid to Ukraine

Hungary might carry on blocking military aid to Ukraine despite a recent decision by Kyiv to remove a Hungarian bank from its list of Russia war sponsors, the Hungarian foreign minister said on Wednesday.

The decision by the Ukrainian National Agency of Corruption Prevention to remove OTP Bank from the list was a “step in the right direction,” said Peter Szijjarto. 

However, he asked for further reassurance to swing Hungary's position, adding the country's foreign minister had invited Ukrainian officials to come to Budapest “as soon as possible” for negotiations. 

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“If a reassuring agreement is reached there, then we will, of course, have to consider what steps this justifies on our part,” the minister said at a news conference.

Ukraine added OTP to its list of sponsors of the war in May in response to the financial institution continuing its operations in Russia – meaning it pays taxes to Moscow. 

In response, Hungary blocked an EU military aid package to Kyiv worth €500 million since May, vowing it would not withdraw its veto until OTP was removed from the list.

Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency temporarily removed the bank from the list last week in hopes that Budapest would lift its veto of the funding.

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The Hungarian government, led by nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, has sparred with Kyiv over a number of issues since Russia’s full-scale invasion began.

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