Ukrainian troops, on the defensive for months, will soon counterattack as Russia's offensive looks to be faltering, a commander said, but President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned that without a faster supply of arms the war could last years.



* Overnight Russian missile strikes and shelling killed at least seven civilians in northern and eastern Ukraine, regional officials said.

* At an unassuming industrial estate in northern Ukraine, two former Microsoft executives and a team of engineers are producing military drones that can travel over long distances and carry large payloads.

* Russian forces are increasingly using drones in aerial battles over the fiercely contested city of Bakhmut, but the threat of fighter jets and helicopters remains and more Western weapons are needed to counter them, Ukrainian soldiers said.

* Ukraine's top military brass on Thursday withdrew a report that wrongly said Russian troops had left the town of Nova Kahkovka in southern Kherson region.

* Reuters could not immediately verify battlefield reports.



* The European Central Bank is pressing Austria's Raiffeisen Bank International RBIV.VI to unwind its highly profitable business in Russia, five people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

* Credit Suisse AG CSGN.S and UBS group AG UBSG.S are among banks under scrutiny in a U.S. Justice Department investigation into whether financial professionals helped Russian oligarchs evade sanctions, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

* A Russian security officer who fled the country because he objected to the invasion of Ukraine has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years in high-security prison, the news website reported on Friday.



* Russian forces may have to advance as far as Kyiv or Lviv in Ukraine but Moscow is not planning direct conflict with NATO, Russian ex-President Dmitry Medvedev told Russian news agencies on Friday. He also warned that any Ukrainian attempt to take the Crimean peninsula - which Moscow annexed in 2014 - would be grounds for Russia to use "absolutely any weapon" against Kyiv.

* U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reassured members of Congress on Thursday that the billions of dollars approved for Ukraine should last for much of the year, and said measures were in place to ensure it is well spent.

* In a sharply worded video address to European Union leaders on Thursday, delivered from a train, Zelenskiy said the war would drag on for years unless the 27-nation bloc provided weapons more quickly and imposed extra sanctions on Russia.

* The EU leaders were holding talks with U.N. chief Antonio Guterres on global food security and sanctions against Russia.

* EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledged EU help to find Ukrainian children deported to Russia, which says it has taken them for their own protection. Von der Leyen said only 300 children had returned so far of 16,200 deported in what she called a reminder of "the darkest times in our history".

(Compiled by Reuters editors)