Dam destruction threatens a counterattack

Days after the Russian Defense Ministry said a Ukrainian counter-offensive had begun in the Donetsk region, east of Zaporizhia region, reports from the region in southern Ukraine indicated an intensification of attacks by Ukrainian forces overnight. The long-awaited operation takes its first steps. However, it was a moment of great uncertainty, not only about the balance of power at the military level, but above all because of the severe flooding that followed the attack that caused the destruction of the Nova Kakovka dam, which left dozens dead. Cities from the submerged Kherson region. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the attack sent water from an upstream reservoir on the Dnieper River, flooding much of the Ukrainian-held city of Kherson and dozens of villages on both sides of the river. Area controlled by Russia and Ukraine.

Compounding the tragic situation people are experiencing, it is estimated that more than 42 thousand people will be directly affected, and the Crimean Peninsula is in a particularly dangerous situation in terms of access to drinking water in the future. Taking into account the environmental impact of at least 150 tonnes of oil spilled into the water, it may take years for the ecosystem to recover. However, as Russia and Ukraine trade accusations over who was responsible for the attack, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recommended an independent international inquiry to determine the causes of the infrastructure destruction.

More than 5 meters high

The Dnieper will be impossible to cross in the coming weeks. Now, ​​the river is the frontline in the war, separating troops from Ukraine and Russia, hoping a counterattack will force them to cross. It is a river of considerable width, having reached one kilometer at its mouth, and is estimated to have reached twice or even three times that size now. Also, it was already a swamp, and even if the dam drained, the terrain was sure to be still impassable.

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Meanwhile, Volodymyr Zelensky visited the flood-hit Kherson region yesterday, where rescue operations are ongoing, with nearly 2,000 people rescued from affected areas. On Wednesday, Zelensky had already called for a “clear and swift global response” to the floods and criticized international institutions for their inability to respond to the crisis. “In every death there is an indictment of the existing international mosaic, international organizations that have lost the habit of saving life,” Zelensky said in a telegram.

As of Thursday morning, the average flood level in the Kherson region was more than five meters, regional officials said. Of the area now flooded, 32% is on the Ukrainian-controlled west bank and 68% on the Russian-controlled east bank, said Oleksandr Prokhudin, head of Ukraine’s regional military administration in Kherson.

Meanwhile, Russian forces in the area are accused of obstructing evacuation efforts at a location near Kherson. The village of Oleshki is one of the most flood-affected peripheries of Russian-controlled territory, with several videos and photos of the site showing the flood damage and the dire situation many residents find themselves in. Rescuers were stuck on the roofs of their houses. But Russian forces are preventing volunteers from reaching people in Oleshki, with checkpoints isolating the village, according to reports from humanitarian organizations still working on the ground. Helping to Leave, an organization that provides aid and services to Ukrainians trying to escape the devastation of the war, said its volunteers ran into Russian roadblocks. “They don’t allow volunteers to enter the boats,” a representative of the group told British newspaper The Guardian. “Emergency Services [russos] They carry out some evacuations, but it is very selective and insufficient».

In response to Zelensky’s accusations, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Twitter on Wednesday that its teams in Ukraine were “working around the clock” to help flood-affected people, evacuate and assess what could be done to intensify humanitarian efforts. Response Meanwhile, residents themselves expressed dismay at heavy shelling of areas in Ukrainian-controlled territory. Prokhudin came up with numbers saying 353 mortar, artillery, rocket systems, drones, tanks and Russian aircraft were launched against the region on Tuesday. During Zelensky’s visit,

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On Thursday, Ukrainian authorities said nine evacuation sites had been set up for thousands of people rescued from the Kherson flood zone, including more than 100 children. However, the state emergency service also warned of the risk of landmines and unexploded ordnance being displaced by floodwaters.

Silence about the attack

On the side of territory occupied by Russian forces, relief services had rescued around 4,500 people as of yesterday, Russian state news agency Tass on Telegram reported, citing Kremlin-appointed officials in the region. The same agency also reported that Moscow forces repelled a Ukrainian offensive near Novodarivka in the Zaporizhia region. And U.S. intelligence services confirmed Monday that artillery and missile launches from Ukrainian military positions indicated a counteroffensive had begun against parts of the front line in the east.

So far, there has been no statement from Kiev about these months-of-planned operations, nor any comment from Ukrainian regional authorities, who have said they will remain silent on the details of the counterattack for reasons. The working secret..

Backed by a whole array of sophisticated weapons and munitions handed over by Western allies, Ukraine has been preparing an offensive over the past few months to retake territory from Russia. Billions of euros have been spent on this arsenal, with German-made Panther 2 tanks and American-made Bradley infantry fighting vehicles rushed to Ukraine for a counteroffensive. Ukrainian troops have been training intensively in recent weeks, with the UK, US and other NATO members assisting and training nine of the 12 newly formed and armed brigades expected to take part in the fighting. . But the devastating effects of flooding after the destruction of the Dnieper River dam will certainly backfire, whatever Kiev’s plans for a counterattack are. In addition to changes in the flow of the river, a spokesman for the Armed Forces of Ukraine clarified that at this time, the priority is to help the affected population. If the crossing of the river is now severely obstructed, it is unlikely that military maneuvers will be carried out in the area while rescue operations continue. The problem is that, from a strategic point of view, it allows Russia to reinforce the Eastern Front with its army now south of the Dnieper. And Kiev finds itself under pressure from all sides and running against it over time, as Western support has so far been steady and decisive, but this could be called into question in the long run and without concrete progress in the coming months. For example, the US budget for military aid is expected to run out in September, by which time the Ukrainian army will not be able to break through zones penetrated by the Russians with mines, tank traps and the occupier’s trench lines. , despite the aid, Western support for arming Kiev’s forces is likely to wane, since Kiev has been pressured by allies to open talks aimed at ending the conflict, ceding a good chunk of territory. It is under Russian rule.

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