Latest in Ukraine: Kyiv won't say when its counteroffensive has begun (June 5)
Here's a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week.
What to watch
Reports of heavy fighting in Ukraine fueled speculation of whether it could be part of an anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive, but there's no confirmation from Kyiv. Russia said it thwarted a major Ukrainian offensive and killed hundreds of troops in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, although Ukraine dismissed the claims.
President Biden has a busy week hosting the Danish prime minister on Monday and the British prime minister on Thursday. The war in Ukraine will feature on the agenda for both visits.
Countries on NATO's eastern flank, known as the Bucharest Nine, will hold a summit in Slovakia on Tuesday. The group has strongly condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and called Russia "the most significant and direct" security threat.
NATO's chief hopes to bring Sweden into the military alliance this month, but has yet to persuade Turkey and Hungary to approve the Nordic country's bid.
The European Commission looks set to extend a ban on some farm imports from Ukraine within five countries in central and Eastern Europe.
What happened last week
Russia kept up its assault on Kyiv. Ukraine's air defenses shot down many of the drone and missile strikes over its capital, but some caused damage and casualties. Ukrainian officials said the last weekend in May saw the largest drone attack in Kyiv since the invasion began in 2022, lasting more than five hours and killing one person. A missile attack in Kyiv on Thursday left two women and a child dead.
Fighters backed by Ukraine have been waging a guerrilla-style campaign in southern Russia's Belgorod region.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly argued Ukraine "has a right" to strike outside its borders. The remark conveyed a harder stance than what the U.S. has said: The Biden administration publicly opposes Ukrainian attacks inside Russia. Dmitry Medvedev, a senior Russian official and former president, reacted to Cleverly by warning any British "officials could be considered as a legitimate military target."
Europe has mixed views on Ukraine's bid to join NATO. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Ukraine's "rightful place" is in NATO, and France is pushing for a clear path for Ukraine to join the alliance. But Germany put a damper on things, saying this is not the time to talk about it in the midst of war in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has lobbied for his country to become part of NATO, also acknowledged it would be "impossible" to join during the war.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry issued a video showing troops putting a finger to their lips to keep silent. Accompanying text said, "There will be no announcement of the start." The messaging built suspense about a major counteroffensive Ukraine has planned for months. Earlier in the week, Zelenskyy told The Wall Street Journal, "we are ready."
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