Ukraine reports gains, with new U.S. aid coming

STORY: U.S. Secretary State Antony Blinken announced new aid from Washington for Ukraine on Thursday. One, a financing package worth about $1 billion. The other, weapons worth $675 million.

"We know this is a pivotal moment. More than six months into Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine as your counter-offensive is now under way and proving effective."

Blinken was in Kyiv for the announcement, visiting a children's hospital and a famous mine-sweeping dog, a Jack Russel terrier named Patron.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is saying that his military has made battlefield gains in the Kharkiv area, in the country's east, taking several towns and villages from Russian forces. He says that, "every citizen feels proud" of their warriors.

A Ukrainian general said Thursday that it has recaptured about 270 square miles of territory, and advanced about 30 miles behind Russian lines.

It was the most detailed public assessment so far of Ukraine's ongoing counter-offensive. Kyiv has been otherwise guarded about its progress, so as not to compromise the operation.

Russia has confirmed fighting in the Kharkiv area, but has not confirmed any losses.