Ukrainian farmer stands chest-deep in water following destruction of Kakhovka dam Ukrainian farmer stands chest-deep in water following destruction of Kakhovka dam  (AFP or licensors)

Ukraine claims counter-offensive victories despite deadly flooding

Kyiv says Ukraine's counter-offensive has already liberated four villages from Russian occupation, but the advance is overshadowed by devastating flooding in the southern Kherson region. Rescue and relocation efforts continue for civilians driven from their homes by the flooding from the breach of the Kakhovka dam last week.

By Stefan J. Bos

Despite ongoing battles, rescue work continues on both sides of the active front line along the Dnipro River in the southern Kherson region.

Thousands of civilians have been impacted by flooding from the breach of the Kakhovka dam last week, with Moscow and Kyiv blaming each other for the disaster.

"We have lived here for 30 years," says Kherson resident Valentyna. Everything is flooded. Everything."

"The situation is almost critical. If the water rises one more meter, some 3 feet, it will reach the house. Now we are moving our things to a neighbor's house because they live on higher ground," explains Aleksandr Orel, who lives in Kherson.

Many had to leave their homes, but that can be dangerous. On Sunday, a local official said three people were killed when Russian troops opened fire at a boat evacuating people from Russian-occupied areas.

The United Nations and other aid groups now warn of other dangers. They say access to fresh drinking water is a crucial need and the possible spread of water-borne disease a big worry. "There is nothing to eat or drink here," confirms Kherson resident Nina Orel. "There is no electricity, and we cannot reach our children."

Ukrainian President Zelensky says the International Criminal Court envoys have visited the region to investigate the disaster, which has driven thousands from their homes and left at least 14 people dead.

Kyiv claims Moscow blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant and dam in a Russian-controlled area to slow Ukraine's counter-offensive. Russia denies the charges and blames Ukraine for its destruction.

But Kyiv suggests that despite the flooding, its counter-offensive against Russian forces continues to halt the counter-offensive fought at different locations.

Listen to the report:

Officials say "the national flag is once again waving" over Storozhove in the Donetsk region.

A day earlier, footage showed Ukrainian troops celebrating in Blahodatne and Neskuchne - and a minister said nearby Makarivka was also taken.
However, the settlements are relatively small, and Moscow has not confirmed any withdrawal.

The Institute for the Study of War has backed up Kyiv's claims, saying Ukraine captured "multiple settlements" over the weekend.

Ukraine has also claimed fresh advances of up to 700 meters (2,230 ft) in the direction of Bakhmut - an eastern city that has seen the longest and bloodiest battle of the war so far and that Russia said it had taken.

But Ukraine also suffered a setback.

Independent analysts showed it lost at least 16 US-supplied Bradley armored vehicles in battles over the past several days.

That is some 15 percent of the 109 such vehicles that Washington had given Kyiv.

Thank you for reading our article. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to our daily newsletter. Just click here

12 June 2023, 16:16