- In a meeting with British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly in Kyiv on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed preparations for a NATO summit and Ukraine's plan for ending Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
- U.S. President Joe Biden hosted talks Monday with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen that included discussion on support for Ukraine and training Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighter jets.
- Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Monday that Ukrainian forces had retaken part of a village near Bakhmut, Ukraine, after his Wagner paramilitary group handed its positions there to the regular Russian troops.
- The European Union restricted until September 15 Ukrainian grain imports to Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, but it allowed transit through them for export elsewhere, including to other EU countries.
Fighting is raging in several sections of Ukraine's front line in the Zaporizhzhia region and Donetsk Oblast on Monday, signaling that the long-expected Ukrainian assault may be underway.
During an interview in Kyiv, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Ukraine is weapon-ready for its much-anticipated counteroffensive against Russia but remained mum as to whether it already has — or when it will — begin.
Kuleba expressed confidence that Ukraine's planned assault against Russia will turn the tide of the war and will allow Ukraine to reclaim its territories from Russia. He said such a victory will usher Ukraine into NATO.
Membership in the military alliance would "probably" only be possible for Ukraine after the end of active hostilities, he said.
Ukrainian forces have been increasing offensive operations against Russia on the border of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk provinces. But Kyiv dismissed Russian reports that the counteroffensive has begun and that the Russian military foiled a major Ukrainian offensive in the region of Donetsk.
"We do not have such information, and we do not comment on any kind of fake," a spokesperson for the Ukrainian armed forces general staff said in response to a question from the Reuters news agency.
In a tweet, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak cautioned against trusting Russian information on the fighting in Ukraine.
"Russian news reports have long since become a separate virtual meta-universe," he wrote.
Earlier Monday, Russia claimed its forces had repelled a large-scale Ukrainian attack in the Donetsk region of southern Ukraine.
Russia's Defense Ministry said Ukraine's goal was to break through what they considered the weakest area along the front lines, but that it "had no success."
The Ukrainian attack, Russia said, included six mechanized battalions and two tank battalions.
Ukraine dismissed these claims as misinformation.
Battles over Bakhmut
In his nightly video address, Zelenskyy affirmed Ukrainian wins around Bakhmut and attributed Russian claims of an ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive to Russian histrionics.
"We see how hysterically Russia perceives every step we take there, every position we take," Zelenskyy said.
"The enemy knows that Ukraine will win. They see it. They feel it thanks to your strikes, soldiers, and in particular in Donetsk region," he added, addressing Ukrainian fighters directly.
The Ukrainian advances around Bakhmut were also confirmed Monday by Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin. The Wagner boss said that Ukrainian forces had retaken part of a village near Bakhmut after his mercenary group had handed its positions there to Russian troops.
"Disgrace!" Prigozhin exclaimed in an audio message released on the messaging app Telegram.
"Now part of the settlement of Berkhivka has already been lost, the troops are quietly running away," he said, urging Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the chief of the general staff, Valery Gerasimov, to come to the front to rally the troops.
Denis Pushilin, the top Moscow-backed official in the Russian-occupied part of the Donetsk region, which includes Bakhmut, told Russian state television the situation on the city's flanks was "under control" but "very difficult."
On Monday, U.S. President Joe Biden hosted Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen at the White House for talks on support for Ukraine and the training of Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighter jets.
"When war has returned to our continent, in Europe, it is so important that our allies and our friends — that we stick together, that we are united," Frederiksen said in the Oval Office. "And we have truly been for now 15 months, in Ukraine. We will, of course, continue, from a Danish perspective, our very strong, strong support to Ukraine. But I'm looking forward to work even closer with you on defense and securities."
When asked about the possibility that she may become the first woman to lead the NATO alliance as its secretary-general, Fredericksen said she did not want to speculate on the matter.
She was also asked by journalists about a Vatican-led peace mission, saying, "I think all of us are very interested in peace," but "it takes two to tango," and "we still need a signal from Russia."
White House correspondent Anita Powell contributed to this report. Some information in this article came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.