Day 474 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Kyiv reported First Successes in its Counteroffensive

Ukraine | June 12, 2023, Monday // 12:09|  views

Day 474 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

  • Ukraine reported first successes in its counteroffensive
  • Christo Grozev: Ukraine can get Crimea back before Donbas
  • Chechen forces signed a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense
  • Ecologist from Odesa: Chemicals leak into the Black Sea, the water carries islands of garbage
  • An international court will investigate the destruction of the Kakhovka dam wall
  • Russians loot flooded villages in Kherson Oblast

Ukraine reported first successes in its counteroffensive

Ukraine has reported initial successes in its counteroffensive against Russian forces that began a week ago. According to the information, three villages in the south-eastern part of the country have been liberated. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that an International Criminal Court investigation has begun into the destruction of the wall of the Kakhovka dam, which caused a massive flood.

Footage on social media showed Ukrainian soldiers celebrating in the villages of Blagodatnoe and Neskuchnoe in the Donetsk region. Kyiv's deputy defense minister said the nearby village of Makarovka had also been captured.

So far, there is no official comment from the Russian side. For several days, the Russian army has claimed to be repelling Ukrainian attacks in the region. On Saturday, President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed that the counteroffensive had begun.

Meanwhile, Ukraine claims Russia blew up another dam in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast after the main Nova Kakhovka dam collapsed on Monday, causing massive flooding.

Valeriy Shershen, a spokesman for the Ukrainian army, said Moscow's forces chose to blow up a second dam near the village of Novodarovka, which "led to flooding on both banks of the Mokri Yala River." According to him, Russia is deliberately blowing up dams in the region to stop the advance of Ukraine to the occupied areas. Moscow denied blowing up the Nova Kakhovka dam and blamed Kyiv for it.

Meanwhile, in his evening address, the Ukrainian president stated that the International Criminal Court's investigation into the case had begun:

"It is especially important for international legal experts to see for themselves the consequences of the Russian terrorist act, as well as to hear with their own ears the non-stop Russian terror. And it continues with the most cynical and cruel shelling of the flooded territories and evacuation zones." .

Ukrainian forces have so far managed to evacuate around 4,000 residents from the affected areas - including parts of the eastern bank of the Dnieper River, which is occupied by Russia.

Christo Grozev: Ukraine can get Crimea back before Donbas

Bulgarian journalist Christo Grozev predicts that Ukraine can win the war by the end of the year, BTA reported, referring to his interview.

"If everything goes the way we see it now, then soon Kyiv can claim a victory," said Grozev in an interview with Radio Freedom, quoted by the Ukrainian agency UNIAN.

According to him, the course of the war will largely depend on how much the world will continue to help Kyiv.

"But if everything goes as we see it now, then I see a kinetic victory of Ukraine ... by the end of the year. You know, I even think that it is more realistic to liberate Crimea than Donbas, because the motivation for the Ukrainian is so strong regarding Crimea that I am convinced that it will be a priority," the journalist believes.

Grozev won an Oscar and a BAFTA for his documentary on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in February.

In December, he was declared wanted by Russian authorities, who gave no official reasons and a Moscow court later ordered his arrest in absentia. Grozev was also included in the lists of the so-called "foreign agents" in Russia - opponents of the war in Ukraine, whose activities are financed from abroad.

Chechen forces signed a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense

Russia's Defense Ministry said today it had signed a contract with the Chechen Akhmat Battalion, a day after influential Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin refused to do so, Reuters reported.

The signing followed an order that by July 1 all "volunteer units" must sign contracts to come under the control of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, as Moscow tries to assert its control over private armies fighting on its behalf name in Ukraine. In return, volunteer fighters will receive the same privileges and protection as regular troops, including support for themselves and their families if they are wounded or killed.

Prigozhin, who has been at loggerheads with the Defense Ministry and accuses it of failing to secure adequate ammunition supplies for his Wagner mercenaries in Ukraine, said yesterday that he would refuse to sign such a contract.

He pointed out that Shoigu "cannot manage the military formations properly".

The contract the defense ministry signed today is with the Akhmat paramilitary group, often referred to as the personal army of Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya.

Unlike Prigozhin, Kadyrov has recently refrained from criticizing the defense ministry. Representatives of the two powers argued openly, with one of Kadyrov's close allies on Thursday branding Prigozhin as a blogger who constantly complains about problems.

Ecologist from Odesa: Chemicals leak into the Black Sea, the water carries islands of garbage

Water pollution in the Black Sea may reach Bulgaria. There are floating islands of garbage that have a huge amount of debris.

This was stated by Odesa ecologist Vladislav Balinsky on Bulgaria’s National Television (BNT), commenting on the pollution in the Black Sea due to the explosion at the Nova Kakhovka dam.

An industrial complex has been located on the territory of the Kakhovka Dam for many years, where there are dangerous chemical pollutants. According to the ecologist, years ago in the USSR, pesticides and other substances were used that decompose in the body for hundreds of years. Graveyards for people and animals, as well as the sewers of some settlements, were also taken away. Part of this flows into the Black Sea and goes to Romania and Bulgaria, Balinsky explained.

According to the ecologist, the current can bring the polluted waters to the Bulgarian coast. That is why monitoring of the water in the Black Sea is needed.

There is no problem with the air, but it is better to refrain from bathing in the sea. The dynamics of the process must be monitored, Balinsky also said.

In the flooded territories of Odesa, anti-epidemic measures should be taken. Pollution will affect the entire ecosystem, including fish, whales and dolphins. It is likely that the transparency of the water will change and there will be coloring of the algae, the ecologist also warns.

An international court will investigate the destruction of the Kakhovka dam wall

An International Criminal Court investigation into the destruction of the Kakhovka dam wall and the massive flood it caused is already underway, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, as quoted by Reuters and BTA.

In his evening video address, Zelensky announced that in recent days "representatives of the Ministry of Justice have visited the Kherson region."

"Already on the first day after the disaster, the Office of the General Prosecutor sent the relevant request to the Ministry of Internal Affairs regarding the investigation of this disaster, and the work has already begun," announced Zelensky.

The president pointed out that it is important for experts from the ICC to see the consequences of the disaster, including cases of shelling of flooded areas. Ukrainian authorities said three people were killed yesterday in Russian shelling of boats carrying evacuees.

Zelensky announced that Ukrainian rescue teams had evacuated around 4,000 residents from the affected areas – including areas on the Russian-occupied eastern bank of the Dnieper River.

At the same time, the governor of the Kherson Oblast, Oleksandr Prokudin, told BNT about the situation in the region after the disaster. According to him, more than 16,000 people in 80 settlements are in the risk zone after the explosion of the dam wall of Nova Kakhovka.

"The situation remains extremely complicated, the flood level is decreasing, but the water level is high - 5 meters. In the Kherson region, 600 square kilometers have been flooded, of which 32% are on the right bank, and 68% on the other, temporarily occupied by Russia".

34 settlements are under water, says Prokudin. In the unoccupied territories, 3,662 houses were completely submerged. In Kherson, 210 homes suffered the worst damage.

BNT: “How is the evacuation of people going?

Oleksandr Prokudin, governor of Kherson Oblast: “A rescue operation is underway in the region. Volunteers, lifeguards and police come to the aid of all those in trouble because of the Russian terrorists. At the moment, more than 2,000 people have been evacuated”.

BNT: “Is there a green corridor for people in the territory controlled by Russia?

Oleksandr Prokudin, governor of Kherson Oblast: “There is no green corridor, unfortunately. On the left bank, the situation is very critical. The occupiers wasted people's precious time with stories that everything is fine and now they are in no hurry to help those affected by the water disaster that happened through their fault”.

At first they didn't give a chance to get on the boats at all and they took the boats away from people, it's terrible. Now it is not even clear how many injured people there are in the occupied territory, probably hundreds. Terrible situation, they keep shooting when people try to escape from this disaster”.

BNT: “How do international organizations react?

Oleksandr Prokudin, Governor of Kherson Oblast: “The entire central government, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, we at the local level are having a dialogue with the world community to get involved in rescuing our people who are being held hostage in the Russian-controlled Left Bank. No results yet, but we hope international organizations will help”.

BNT: “How many people and settlements are at risk?

Oleksandr Prokudin, governor of Kherson Oblast: “Over 80 settlements, 16,000 inhabitants on the right bank and 20,000 in the temporarily occupied territories are in the risk zone”.

Odesa ecologist Vladislav Balinsky also spoke to BNT:

"The water in the Kakhovka dam is already below the critical level of the cooling ponds of the nuclear plants. The national nature park has been completely destroyed. Now it is possible to examine the pollution of the Black Sea water area.

There are floating islands of garbage that have a huge amount of debris. I've seen pictures. They are made by the people who live there," he says.

BNT: “What consequences will these pollutions have for the Black Sea water area?

Vladyslav Balinsky, ecologist: “It is not possible at the moment to assess the scale of this ecological disaster. Vast areas have been affected and as a result the landscape of the affected areas has changed. Flooding these lands is very dangerous – that much is obvious”.

Russians loot flooded villages in Kherson Oblast

Russians are looting flooded villages in the occupied territory of the Kherson Oblast, UNIAN reported, citing data from the Center for National Resistance.

"Now the water is starting to drain and the local residents want to return to their homes. However, the Russians have closed the entrances to these villages and towns and are actively looting their homes. In particular, this is the situation in the village of Bolshaya Kardashinka in the Skadovsky district. The Russians are looting even the homes where people are left."

The town of Gola Pristan, which was seriously affected by the flood, has been placed under quarantine, "Meduza" reported. According to volunteers quoted by the media, it was closed to entry and exit. It is therefore impossible to transfer humanitarian aid from outside.

Volunteers fear that this measure is linked to the allegedly high number of victims. Officially, the Russian authorities reported eight deaths on the left bank of the Dnieper. According to volunteers, hundreds of residents of the flooded areas have disappeared without a trace.

Ukraine evacuated over 100 people from the occupied left bank of the Dnieper. Despite the Russian shelling.

Over 100 people have been evacuated from the occupied left bank of Kherson region, despite Russian shelling. This was announced by the governor of the Kherson Oblast Oleksandr Prokudin.

"Two men were rescued today from the distaster that the invaders created on the left bank. Fleeing the flood, they climbed a tree where they were found and evacuated to the right bank. They are now in hospital, diagnosed with hypothermia...

Today, we managed to pull 112 people from the left bank, of which 54 were women and 7 were children.”

According to Prokudin, the situation in the Kherson Oblast is very serious, as the occupiers want to thwart the rescue operation in the region and mercilessly bombard the territory.

"Today, the terrorists opened fire on three boats that were rescuing 21 people from the flooded left bank. Almost all of them were elderly and disabled people. Three people were killed, 10 more were injured, two of them law enforcement officers," Prokudin pointed out.

According to him, the area of the floods has halved - it now covers 77 square kilometers. 46 settlements remain flooded: 32 on the right bank and 14 on the left bank.

Novinite is still the only Bulgarian media that publishes a summary of events and highlights related to the conflict, every single day. Our coverage began on day one - 24.02.2022 and will not stop until the war has concluded. Despite the pressure, our independent media will continue to provide its readers with accurate and up-to-date information. Thank you for your support! #stayinformed

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Tags: Kyiv, Counteroffensive, Ukraine, Russia, Kakhovka


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