The leader of the Russian mercenary Wagner Group believes it has captured the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, but the Russian Defense Ministry’s claim that its forces killed more than 1,500 Ukrainian troops and halted their advance is “absurd.” Dismissed as absurd fantasy.
Evgeny Prigozhin, a frequent critic of Russia’s Armed Forces and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, said Tuesday that if the ministry’s inflated figures since the start of the war were true, “we have already destroyed the entire planet five times.” said.
The long-running feud appears to have reached new heights this week as Prigozhin announced the detention of a Russian military commander. In a video posted on Prigogine’s social media channels, Lieutenant Colonel Roman Venevitin admitted to ordering his troops to open fire on the Wagner convoy while intoxicated. Prigozhin also accused Russian troops of setting mines to kill his men as they retreated from Bakhmut.
The turmoil in Russia follows a “significant increase” in fighting this week on much of the front, including areas that have been relatively quiet for months, the UK Defense Ministry said in its latest war assessment. Stated. The ministry said the feud between Prigozhin and the Russian military has reached an unprecedented level.
“The extent to which Wagner remains responsive to (the Russian military leadership’s) response will be a key factor in the conflict in the coming weeks, as Russia lacks reserves,” the assessment said. Says.
The United Nations Twitter feed posted a note that Tuesday is Russian Language Day.Ukrainian government official Twitter feed refuted “Happy Russian Day, @UN!” with a fake photo of the flooded United Nations General Assembly Hall.
Kiev has remained silent about launching a counterattack, but fighting has escalated on several sections of the front, indicating that the long-anticipated operation could begin.
While the Russian government claims to have successfully fended off Ukrainian attempts to penetrate Russia’s defenses, some pro-Kremlin military bloggers say Kiev forces have made some progress rapidly.
Thousands evacuated from floods as dam bursts
A major dam partially collapsed early Tuesday morning in a Russian-controlled region of southern Ukraine, causing massive flooding and endangering thousands of homes.
Both sides blamed the other for the disaster as Russian forces struggled in what appeared to be the beginning of a long-awaited Ukrainian counteroffensive. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Ukraine of committing a “deliberate sabotage” of depriving Crimea of water. President Volodymyr Zelensky said the dam was mined by Russian occupation forces and caused “the largest man-made environmental disaster in Europe in decades”.
Video footage released by Zelensky shows water crashing through wide gaps in the dam and roaring downstream toward the city of Kherson, home to some 300,000 Ukrainians before the war. rice field. Ukrainian officials said evacuations were underway.
“The destruction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant dam only confirmed to the whole world that they must be expelled from all corners of Ukrainian land,” Zelensky said on Twitter. “They use every meter for terror, so you shouldn’t leave a single meter to them.
Nova Kakhovka, mayor of the Russian-established city of 45,000, said her town was under water. State media reported. The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which requires water for its cooling system, is located upstream of the dam, also in Russian-controlled territory. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement that there was “no imminent danger to the plant’s safety.”
Kakhovka Dam holds approximately 4.8 billion gallons of water. Lake Mead, the reservoir formed by the Hoover Dam, has a maximum capacity of approximately 9.3 trillion gallons of water.
Aid agencies rush teams to flood-hit Kherson
Alex Hope, national safety and security manager at Switzerland-based CARE, said the international aid group CARE has sent a small team to the city of Kherson early Wednesday morning to assess the damage and needs. rice field. He said the organization had already arranged for the delivery of 1,500 adult diapers for elderly residents unable to evacuate, and said the organization could coordinate assistance with shelters and repair of drinking water. Stated.
“The situation is relatively calm,” he told USA TODAY on Tuesday from the Ukrainian coastal city of Mykolaiv. “Imagine a flooded dam widening the river, making it even more difficult to cross and making it even more difficult to aim[the artillery].”
Hope said about half of the city’s residents had previously been evacuated due to ongoing fighting, including near-daily barrages by Russian forces nearby. He said reducing the number of people living in the city before the dam burst helped reduce the risk from water, but not necessarily from the fighting. Mykolaiv is about 40 miles northwest of Kherson.
“We need to act quickly while constantly assessing the safety situation,” Hope said. “We are continuing to monitor the situation as the flooding may spread further.”
Switzerland-based CARE usually works with volunteers, especially Ukrainian women, to distribute food and other supplies from the front lines to cities far from the fighting.
Ukraine’s top diplomat called Russia a “terrorist state” at a UN Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday, accusing it of financing “intimidation and terrorist operations” by rebels in eastern Ukraine in 2014. The International Court of Justice has sued in a lawsuit brought by Kiev against Russia in connection with Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Ukraine has paid the International Court of Justice reparations for regional attacks, including the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which killed all 298 people on July 17, 2014, by Russian-backed rebels. is asking the Russian government to order Russia plans to file a lawsuit on Thursday.
Ukraine’s Interior Ministry wrote in a telegram that Kakhovka Dam was blown up by Russia. Russian officials countered that the Kakhovka dam was damaged by Ukrainian military attacks in the disputed area. Ukraine has warned for almost a year that Russia may try to destroy the dam.
In a telegram post, President Zelensky blamed “Russian terrorists” for the destruction of the dam. He said the incident “just confirmed to the whole world that they must be expelled from all corners of Ukraine.”
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Kakhovka Dam is one of six dams along the Dnipro River. The dam is vital for the supply of drinking water and electricity to southeastern Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, which he annexed to Russia in 2014. The dam itself is about 100 feet high and about 2 miles long. Built in 1956. Russian officials said about 22,000 people in 14 settlements could be affected by the floods. Ukrainian officials said up to 80 settlements were at risk.
Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom said in a Telegram statement that the dam blowing “could adversely affect the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant” but that the situation was “controllable” at the moment. A rapid drop in the reservoir could deprive a nuclear power plant of critical cooling functions.
of The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency wrote on Twitter: Experts are closely monitoring the situation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant and said the facility “has no immediate nuclear safety risks”.
In a separate statement, the IAEA said the water level in the reservoir was “approximately 16.4 meters (53.8 feet) at 08:00 local time. If it falls below 12.7 meters, it cannot be pumped.” The reservoir is receding at a rate of about 5 centimeters (0.39 inches) per hour, according to the IAEA.
Will the Ukrainian counterattack finally begin?
Ukraine and Russia are fighting an information war as well as an information war on the battlefield. This makes it very difficult for either side to know how much weight should be given to military statements. It was also not immediately clear whether or how damage to the dam would affect Ukraine’s military plans.
The Russian defense ministry said on Monday that Ukrainian forces had launched a “massive attack against five sectors of the front in the southern Donetsk region” and that at least one attack had been evaded. Ukrainian officials said they would not formally announce the launch of a counteroffensive, but acknowledged that in recent weeks the Ukrainian military has stepped up preparations and conducted some offensive operations.
At least two pro-Ukrainian militants are believed to have launched incursions into Russian territory in recent weeks. The Ukrainian leadership has distanced itself from such operations.
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“Ukraine continues to be wise,” wrote Phillips P. O’Brien, professor of strategic and security studies at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, in a recent blog focusing on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
“They are trying, first and foremost, to cause the collapse of the Russian military, and everything we see in formation operations means they are giving themselves the best possible chance to do so. There is.”
Contributed by Associated Press