President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia has been beaten back by the ‘powerful blows’ of Ukrainian forces, with 16,000 of Putin’s troops killed as the war entered its fifth week.

Zelensky’s troops are preparing to take back the city of Kherson today, which was the first major city the invading forces took control of.

An adviser to the Ukrainian defence minister said he thought the city would be won back today.

Markian Lubkivskyi told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I believe that today the city will be fully under the control of Ukrainian armed forces.

‘We have finished in the last two days the operation in the Kyiv region so other armed forces are now focused on the southern part trying to get free Kherson and some other Ukrainian cities.’

Zelensky also welcomed a delivery of 1,500 German anti-aircraft missiles, while alleged war criminal Putin was said to be scaling back his invasion aims to ‘liberating’ Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region as he continued to shell civilians.

He made a surprise video appearance at Qatar’s Doha Forum today, where he criticised Russia’s war and called on the United Nations and world powers for more help.

Putin may have dialled back his war aims to focus on eastern Ukraine after failing to break the nation’s resistance in a month of fighting and attacks on civilians that included up to 300 feared killed after Russia bombed a theatre.

US President Joe Biden met in Poland with two Ukrainian ministers on Saturday in the first face-to-face meeting between the US president and top Kyiv officials since Russia’s invasion began.

In an address last night Zelensky said: ‘Over the past week, our heroic Armed Forces have dealt powerful blows to the enemy. Significant losses.’

‘I am grateful to our defenders who showed the occupiers that the sea will not be calm for them even when there is no storm. Because there will be fire.


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