Fighting continues in eastern Ukraine over Bakhmut

Fierce fighting continues in eastern Ukraine as Russian forces step up their offensive around the stronghold of Bakhmut to try to seize control of the Donetsk region.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday that Russia has been sending soldiers in constant waves and the intensity of fighting is only increasing.

The Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday that the US and others were planning a provocation in Ukraine using toxic chemicals in the form of false-flag attacks to blame Russia.

On Wednesday, the Russian foreign ministry said radioactive substances were delivered to the ports of Odesa in southern Ukraine, and could be used for provocation against Russia.

The Institute for the Study of War, a US think tank, says in its assessment on Tuesday that Russian authorities appear to be escalating their promotion of false-flag information operations.

It says Russian officials are increasingly trying to slow down the provision of Western tanks and other equipment to Ukraine.

The institute says Russia will likely escalate information operations as opportunities for Ukrainian counter-offensives grow.