Russia has continued a nearly 19-month-long invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Recently, though, the Ukrainians have gone on a counteroffensive, fighting to reclaim occupied territory.
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Zelenskyy visits front line near Bakhmut
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited troops at the front line near Bakhmut as Ukrainian forces continue to make ground in their counteroffensive, the president's office said Tuesday.
Zelenskyy, who was accompanied by commander of ground forces Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, thanked soldiers for their service and presented them with awards, according to a video released by the office.
"I awarded the best warriors. And I thank everyone who fights for the sake of the state," Zelenskyy said.
Ukrainian defense forces continue to advance in the direction of Melitopol, according to the spokesman for Pavlo Kovalchuk, the general staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
"They were successful in the direction of Robotyne - Novoprokopivka. They are entrenching at the achieved milestones," the spokesman said.
-ABC News' Will Gretsky
Cuba uncovers human trafficking for Russia's war in Ukraine
Cuban officials announced Monday that they have "detected" and are "working on the neutralization and dismantling of a human trafficking network that operates from Russia to incorporate Cuban citizens living there, and even some from Cuba, into the military forces participating in war operations in Ukraine."
"Attempts of this nature have been neutralized and criminal proceedings have been initiated against people involved in these activities," the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
The ministry noted that "Cuba has a firm and clear historical position against mercenarism and plays an active role in the United Nations in repudiation of this practice."
"Cuba is not part of the war in Ukraine," the ministry added. "It is acting and will act energetically against anyone, from the national territory, who participates in any form of human trafficking for the purpose of recruitment or mercenarism for Cuban citizens to use arms against any country."
-ABC News' Mara Valdes
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expects to replace defense minister
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked the country’s parliament to replace the country’s current Minister of Defense.
In a Sunday address, Zelenskyy told the Ukrainian people they need new approaches for the military and Rustem Umerov is the person he wants in the minister job. Current minister Oleksiy Reznikov has served throughout the conflict with Russia.
Additionally, Zelenskyy announced he had reached an agreement with French President Emmanuel Macron. Though he did not go into details, Zelenskyy mentioned the agreement is related to training Ukrainian pilots in France.
-ABC News' Ellie Kaufman
Russia hit with barrage of drones for 2nd straight night
Russian officials are claiming a drone attack on the Bryansk region by Ukraine, the second such attack in the country in as many nights. Two drones were allegedly shot down by air defense in the city, according to local officials.
One of the Ukrainian kamikaze drones that attacked Bryansk fell on the hotel of the Department of Affairs of the regional government, about 100 meters from the building of the regional administration, according to multiple local officials.
Meanwhile, Russia claimed it repelled a drone attack on the Moscow region. The drone attack Thursday morning caused no casualties or destruction in the Voskresensk district of the Moscow region, the district's head, Alexei Malkin, said.
"No traces of destruction have been discovered thus far. No one was injured. All emergency services are working at the scene," Malkin said on his Telegram channel.
"On-duty air defenses destroyed the unmanned aerial vehicle over the Voskresensk district of the Moscow region," the ministry said.
-ABC News' Will Gretsky
Belarus president says Prigozhin arrived in the country Tuesday
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said on state media Tuesday that Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin arrived in his country earlier in the day.
Lukashenko claimed on state media that "security guarantees" Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to Prigozhin were provided.
"Yes, indeed, he is in Belarus today. As I promised, if you want to stay with us for a while and so on, we will help you," Lukashenko said.
A senior U.S. official confirmed to ABC News that Prigozhin is in exile in Belarus, surrounded by a security force of his own Wagner mercenaries.
-ABC News' Victoria Beaule, Tanya Stukalova and Martha Raddatz