Russia-Ukraine warfare information: Zelensky, Wagner chief provide clashing views on counteroffensive

The Ukrainian and Russian sides have given conflicting statements on whether or not Ukraine’s counteroffensive has begun, amid fierce combating for the jap metropolis of Bakhmut. The top of Russia’s mercenary Wagner Group, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, mentioned his forces management many of the metropolis however {that a} Ukrainian counteroffensive is “in full swing,” with profitable assaults on Russian forces. Later Friday, Prigozhin referred to as on Russia’s protection leaders to “cease mendacity” concerning the battlefield state of play.

Russia’s Protection Ministry denied stories of Ukrainian forces breaking by on the entrance strains. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned his nation wanted to attend for extra tools to reach earlier than beginning a spring offensive — at the same time as protection officers introduced positive factors round Bakhmut. Some Ukrainians concern that, if the counteroffensive is perceived as falling brief, strain will develop on Zelensky to barter a peace cope with Moscow, or Western help may wane.

Right here’s the newest on the warfare and its ripple results throughout the globe.

Ukraine’s cultural counteroffensive: The frenzy to erase Russia’s imprint: In one other signal of how Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion has backfired, Ukrainians are erasing traces of Russian tradition, language and monuments from their nation, Ruby Mellen, Zoeann Murphy, Kostiantyn Khudov and Kasia Strek report. Russian books have been pulped. Russocentric museums have been shuttered. Landmarks named after Russian figures have been marked for renaming.

“Nobody has accomplished extra to de-Russify Ukraine than Putin,” mentioned Rory Finnin, an affiliate professor of Ukrainian research at Cambridge College. Ukrainians had been in a position “to handle their, at occasions, overlapping” and layered cultures, Finnin added, however Putin’s aggression has pushed many to hunt the entire elimination of Russian tradition and historical past.

Loveday Morris and Stefano Pitrelli contributed to this report.

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