Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said no one knows how long the war in his country will last but that Ukrainian forces are defying expectations by preventing Russian troops from overrunning eastern Ukraine, where the fighting has been fiercest for weeks.
In his nightly video address, Zelenskyy said he was proud of the Ukrainian defenders managing to hold back the Russian advance in the Donbas region, which borders Russia and where Moscow-backed separatists have controlled much of the territory for eight years.
Luhansk Gov. Serhii Haidai reported Saturday that a big fire broke out at the plant during hours of Russian shelling.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, a counteroffensive pushed Russians out of parts of the southern Kherson region they took early in the war, according to Zelenskyy. Moscow has installed local authorities in Kherson and other occupied coastal areas, offering residents Russian passports, airing Russian news broadcasts and taking steps to introduce a Russian school curriculum.
Zelenskyy said that while an end to the war was not in sight, Ukraine should do everything it can so the Russians “regret everything that they have done and that they answer for every killing and every strike on our beautiful state.”
The Ukrainian leader asserted that Russia has suffered about three times as many military casualties as the number estimated for the Ukrainian side, adding: "For what? What did it get you, Russia?” There are no reliable independent estimates of the war’s death toll so far.
Speaking at a defense conference in Singapore on Sunday, Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe said Beijing continues to support peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, and hopes the U.S. and its NATO allies have discussions with Russia "to create the conditions for an early ceasefire.”
“China will continue to play a constructive role and contribute our share to easing tensions and realizing a political resolution of the crisis,” Wei said.
He suggested that nations supplying weapons to Ukraine were hindering peace by “adding fuel to the fire” and stressed that China had not provided any material support to Russia during the war.
“The growth of China-Russia relations is a partnership, not an alliance,” Wei said.
The Institute for the Study of War, a think tank based in Washington, said in its latest assessment that Ukrainian intelligence suggested the Russian military was planning “to fight a longer war.”
The institute cited the deputy head of Ukraine's national security agency as saying that Moscow had extended its war timeline until October, with adjustments to be made depending on any successes in the Donbas.
The intelligence “likely indicates the Kremlin has, at a minimum, acknowledged it cannot achieve its objectives in Ukraine quickly and is further adjusting its military objectives in an attempt to correct the initial deficiencies in the invasion of Ukraine,” the think tank said.
The Luhansk People’s Republic's ambassador to