Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tours the flooded Kherson region in southern Ukraine, June 8, 2023
Map: Institute for Study of War
UPDATE 1417 GMT:
A US official says American satellites with infrared sensors detected a heat signature, consistent with a major explosion, just before the demolition of the Nova Kakhovka Dam.
The signature adds to US suspicion that Russia is behind the destruction, but intelligence agencies still do not have solid evidence over responsibility.
The official did not rule out the scenario that prior damage or mounting water pressure contributed to the dam’s collapse.
Norsar, the Norwegian Seismic Array, said signals from a station in Romania indicated an explosion at the dam at 2.54 a.m.
UPDATE 1358 GMT:
The Russian Defense Ministry has been caught out lying about supposed success in repelling Ukrainian attacks.
A black-and-white gunsight video, purporting to show the destruction of a “Ukrainian tank”, is in fact a Russian strike on parked farm equipment.
The Defense Ministry posted the clip on Telegram, claiming it was “footage of the destruction of foreign armored vehicles, including Leopard tanks”. The video was promoted by Russian State broadcasters and news sites.
An analysis by Associated Press establishes that the “tank” is large pieces of stationary farm machinery parked in a field, including a self-propelled sprayer and two combines.
UPDATE 1351 GMT:
Iceland is closing its embassy in Moscow.
Foreign Minister Thordis Kolbrun explained in a statement:
This is not an easy decision as Iceland has enjoyed rich relations with the people of Russia since our independence in 1944. However, the current situation simply does not make it viable for the small foreign service of Iceland to operate an embassy in Russia. I hope that conditions will someday allow for us to have normal and fruitful relations with Russia, but that depends on decisions taken by the Kremlin.
Iceland has asked Russia to lower the level of diplomatic representation at its embassy in Reykjavík.
Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed the step.
I thank @ThordisKolbrun for Iceland’s decision to suspend operations of its embassy in Moscow and request Russia to limit the operations of its embassy in Reykjavík. Russia must see that barbarism leads to complete isolation. I encourage other states to follow Iceland’s example.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) June 9, 2023
UPDATE 1337 GMT:
A spokesperson says Belgium’s Defense Ministry is supplying Ukraine with $35 million of 105mm artillery rounds.
UPDATE 1326 GMT:
In his Friday call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tokyo will sned emergency humanitarian aid of about $5 million after the demolition of the Nova Kakhovka Dam.
Kishida also told Zelenskiy that Japan is ready to host a conference on Ukraine’s reconstruction early next year.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a news conference:
Many Ukrainian citizens fell victim to the long-running Russian invasion, and civilian facilities including power plants were damaged. This can never be justified, and we strongly condemn this anew.
UPDATE 1200 GMT:
Ukraine Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko says four people have died and 13 are missing amid flooding in the Kherson region after the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka Dam.
He added that 2,412 people had been evacuated.
We are working at all levels of state and local authorities to rescue as many people as possible from the flooded areas. The evacuation is ongoing. Wherever we can get people out of the flood zone, we do so. The State Emergency Service, police and military are doing a great job!… pic.twitter.com/lTEHoReSY6
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) June 9, 2023
Russian proxy governor Vladimir Saldo said the water level in the town of Nova Kakhovka has dropped by 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) from Tuesday’s peak. However, the level is “at the maximum” in Oleshky and Hola Prystan.
He said flooding might not abate for another 10 days, with 22,273 houses affected in 17 towns and villages of the Russian-occupied are of Kherson.
UPDATE 0917 GMT:
Ukraine’s domestic security service SBU says it has established, through an intercepted telephone call, that Russian forces set off explosives to destroy the Nova Kakhovka Dam and cause widespread flooding through the Kherson region on Tuesday.
The security service of Ukraine posted a 90-second audio clip of the call on its Telegram channel.
The first Russian soldier speaks about the destruction of the dam and the submersion of the Khakovskaya Hydroelectric Power Plant.
Speaker 1: Yeah. The main problem is that the hydropower plant cools their nuclear reactor.
Speaker 2: That’s fine. They did it to themselves. It’ll blow up and that’s it.
Speaker 1: So our guys did it. It’s not them, it’s ours.
Speaker two: Really, it was ours? They said that the Khokhols [derogatory term for Ukrainians] blew it up.
Speaker 1: They didn’t blow it up. Our saboteur group is there. They wanted to cause fear with this dam. It did not go according to the plan. More than they planned.
Speaker 2: Yeah, well, naturally. It’s gonna be like Chornobyl, right?
Speaker 1: Built in the 1950s. It went down fast, it went down.
UPDATE 0654 GMT:
The Ukraine Air Force says 4 of 6 Russian cruise missiles and 10 of 16 attack drones were downed overnight.
But one person was killed and three wounded by falling debris, said the Interior Ministry. Four buildings were destroyed.
A 33-year-old man was wounded when Iranian-made drones struck an infrastructure object in Bohodukhiv in the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine.
In an earlier Russian attack, two cruise missiles hit a car wash and an “industrial object” in Cherkasy in central Ukraine, wounding eight people.
Yesterday Russia attacked Uman, a Ukrainian city, with Kalibr missiles. A grocery store was hit.
Russia announced it destroyed an ammunition warehouse with that attack.
Terrorist state. pic.twitter.com/SxwPvoYqM9
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) June 9, 2023
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has hailed “results” in liberation of territory in the east of the country.
On Monday, in preparatory attacks for a counter-offensive, Ukrainian forces advanced up to 6 km (3.7 miles) in the Donetsk region.
In his nightly address to the nation on Thursday, Zelenskiy indicated more success — including a fight-back in Bakhmut, occupied by Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries last month:
There is very heavy fighting in Donetsk region. But there are results and I am grateful to those who achieved these results. Well done in Bakhmut. Step by step.
A large Ukrainian assault — with tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery-supported infantry — was also reported in the Zaporizhzhia region in the south.
Satellite images and Russian military observers indicated that Ukrainian forces carried out heavy shelling, followed by an attempt to break through Russian defensive lines near Tokmak.
Tokmak, south of Zaporizhzhia city, is a major railway junction and logistical hub. Its liberation would open the way to Melitopol, and break Russian communications between Mariupol and the port city of Berdyansk.
A Visit to Flooded Kherson
Zelenskiy filmed his nightly address on a train. He was returning from a visit to the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, examining the widespread floods after the demolition of the Nova Kakhovka Dam and Kakhovskaya Hydroelectric Power Plant.
The President wrote afterwards:
Many important issues were discussed. The operational situation in the region as a result of the disaster, evacuation of the population from potential flood zones, elimination of the emergency caused by the dam explosion, organization of life support for the flooded areas. Also, the prospects for restoring the region’s ecosystem and the operational military situation in the man-made disaster area.
It is important to calculate the damage and allocate funds to compensate residents affected by the disaster and develop a programme to compensate for losses or relocate businesses within the Kherson region.
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) June 9, 2023