Good morning, Kyiv Post readers. Here’s your Morning Memo for June 7 to get you up to speed on events in Ukraine:
· Top Headlines
· Military Situation Report (Day 469)
Ukraine was evacuating thousands of people from flooded areas after an attack on the Russian-held Kakhovka dam unleashed a torrent of water, inundating some 80 population centers and sparking fears of a humanitarian disaster. Ukrainian authorities said 17,000 people were being evacuated and a total of 24 villages had been flooded.
“Over 40,000 people are in danger of being flooded,” Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said, adding that 25,000 more people needed to be evacuated on the Russian-occupied side of the Dnipro.
Kyiv said the destruction of the dam was an attempt by Moscow to hamper its long-awaited offensive, which Ukraine’s President Zelensky stressed would not be affected. Zelensky accused Russia of detonating an “environmental bomb of mass destruction,” but that the explosion would “not affect Ukraine’s ability to de-occupy its own territories.
Kyiv said 150 tons of engine oil had spilled into the river, and the agricultural ministry said about 10 thousand hectares of farmland on the right bank of the river would be flooded and "several times more" on the left bank.
Western leaders reacted to the blast with some blaming Russia for the damage. EU chief Charles Michel called it a “war crime” and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the dam breach was “outrageous.” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the attack “another devastating consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.” President Joe Biden said “[the US] won’t leave. We will help Ukraine,” while his National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters the US “cannot say conclusively what happened at this point.”
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that his country’s military and intelligence agencies were probing whether Russia blew up the dam, but that it was “too soon” to say. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the destruction was the result of “deliberate sabotage by the Ukrainian side.”
The Russian-installed director of the plant also said water levels in the cooling pond had not changed and “at the moment, there is no security threat to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.”
Military Situation Report
The June 6 campaign assessment from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) had the following key take-aways:
· Damage to the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (KHPP) dam in the early hours of June 6 caused massive flooding of the Dnipro River delta, river wetlands, estuaries, and shoreline settlements in the Kherson Region.
· Ukrainian officials stated that Russian forces intentionally destroyed the KHPP dam and suggested that the Russian military did not prepare for subsequent flooding.
· Russian officials accused Ukrainian forces of destroying the KHPP dam and used the allegations to bolster ongoing efforts to portray Ukrainian assaults elsewhere in Ukraine as immediate failures.
· ISW has not yet observed clear evidence of what transpired at the KHPP on June 6 and is therefore unable to offer an independent assessment of responsibility at the time of this publication.
· Russian forces conducted another large-scale missile strike across Ukraine on the night of June 5-6.
· Russian sources claimed that the pro-Ukrainian all-Russian Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) and the Freedom of Russian Legion (LSR) are gone from a border settlement in the Belgorod Region as of June 6.
· Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks along the Svatove-Kreminna line.
· Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued ground attacks north and southwest of Bakhmut, and Russian forces continued limited offensive operations along the Avdiivka-Donetsk line.
· Ukrainian forces continued ground attacks in the southwestern Donetsk and in eastern Zaporizhia regions.
The update at 06:00 on June 7 (Day 469) for the last 24 hours from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reflects a surge in military activities and reports:
· 35 Russian Kh-101/555 missiles were deployed against Ukraine – all of which were destroyed;
· 41 Russian air raids;
· 57 Russian Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) attacks;
· 30 firefights, including 13 around Mariinka;
· Russian artillery, rocket, mortar and/or airborne fire in the following regions: Kharkiv (31); Chernihiv (eight), Sumy (12); Luhansk (three); Donetsk (45); Zaporizhya (26), Dnipropetrovsk (one), and Kherson (three), and;
· Ukrainian air forces undertook 17 raids against Russian positions.
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