Photo screengrab VOA. Heavy fighting continues on the ground in Ukraine, with small amounts of territory regained.

By Editor-July 3rd, 2023.

It is still slow going in the war in Ukraine as Ukraine continues with its counteroffensive.

Ukraine said Monday its forces had retaken 37 square kilometers of territory in eastern and southern Ukraine during the past week.

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Telegram that Ukrainian troops were advancing in the Bakhmut area in the east, while Russia was attacking in Lyman, Adviivka and Mariinka.

Maliar said there was “heavy fighting going on” in those areas.

Most of the Ukrainian gains were in the southern part of the country, Maliar said, with 28 square kilometers regained during the past week. She added that Ukraine’s military was carrying out offensive operations in the Melitopol and Berdyansk areas.

Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in early June seeking to take back territory that Russia occupied since beginning its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

A new center opened Monday in The Hague focused on investigating and gathering evidence about potential Russian crimes of aggression toward Ukraine in connection with the conflict.

The International Center for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression (ICPA) is set up to work alongside the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC can prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, but does not have a mandate for crimes of aggression.

The U.S. Justice Department said last month that the new ICPA “will play a critical role in the ecosystem for prosecuting atrocity crimes committed in Ukraine.”

As part of its investigations, the ICPA will examine the role Russian officials have played in the war.

Russia has denied targeting civilians or committing war crimes.

U.S. President Joe Biden will visit Europe for a three-country trip to strengthen the international coalition against Russian aggression as the war in Ukraine continues into its second year.

The focus of Biden’s five-day visit next week, will be the annual NATO summit, held this year in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 11-12.

Sources: VOA, The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.