The battle for the Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine has turned into a village-by-village, back-and-forth slog with no major breakthroughs on either side and little ground gained.
In his nightly address Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said no one can predict how long the war will last but that his country's forces have been making progress, including retaking six Ukrainian towns or villages in the past day.
"No one today can predict how long this war will last," Zelensky said.
"This will depend, unfortunately, not only on our people, who are already giving their maximum. This will depend on our partners, on European countries, on the entire free world."
Ukraine has driven Russian troops away from the city of Kharkiv in the fastest advance since Kremlin forces pulled away from Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, and the northeast more than a month ago.
Southeast of Kharkiv, Ukrainian officials said they had stopped Russian forces from crossing the Siverskyi Donets river west of Severodonetsk by destroying a pontoon bridge.
Ukraine's airborne command, which released photos and video of what it said was the damaged bridge and several destroyed or damaged Russian military vehicles nearby, said its troops "drowned the Russian occupiers."
With Ukraine pleading for more arms to fend off the invasion, the European Union's foreign affairs chief announced plans to give Kyiv an additional 500 million euros ($672 million Cdn) to buy heavy weapons.
Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said heavy weapons from the West now making their way to the front lines — including American 155 mm howitzers — will take some time to turn the tide in Ukraine's favour.
"We are entering a new, long-term phase of the war," Reznikov wrote in a Facebook post. "Extremely difficult weeks await us. How many there will be? No one can say for sure."
A day after Finland's leadership signalled support for joining NATO, Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Ann Linde said membership in the military defence pact would benefit countries around the Baltic Sea. "Swedish NATO membership would raise the threshold for military conflicts and thus have a conflict-preventing effect in northern Europe," Linde told reporters.
Finland's president and prime minister announced on Thursday that the Nordic country should apply right away for NATO membership.
"You [Russia] caused this. Look in the mirror," said Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.
Finland's parliament still has to weigh in, but the announcement means it is all but certain to apply — and gain admission. The process could take months to complete.