Ukraine June 2023-

Written by  //  November 15, 2023  //  Europe & EU, Russia, Ukraine  //  No comments

Ukraine February – October 2022
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Official website
Map Explainer: Key Facts About Ukraine
The Forgotten Potential of Ukraine’s Energy Reserves

Showing a map of Ukraine with its internationally recognized borders is now illegal in Russia.

Article 5: NATO’s common defense pledge that stands in the way of Ukraine’s admission while at war
(AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy may have gotten support and vague assurances from NATO leaders in Vilnius this week, but he ultimately returns home without a clear commitment that his country will be joining the club any time soon.
Instead, the alliance leaders said they were removing obstacles on Ukraine’s membership path so that it can join more quickly once the war with Russia is over. (12 July 2023)

15 November
Russia says ‘hell’ awaits Ukrainians after confirming they’ve crossed the Dnieper River into occupied territory
(CNBC) Russian forces are pummeling Ukrainian units that have crossed over the Dnieper River to the Russian-occupied left (or eastern) bank of the river in Kherson, an official said Wednesday.
The Kherson area, in southern Ukraine, is partially occupied by Russian forces after an offensive to take the city of Kherson last year prompted Russian forces to withdraw to the eastern bank of the river.
Ukraine reported Tuesday that its forces had established a foothold on the eastern bank of the river. The announcement could herald the start of an advance toward Russian-occupied Crimea, with Ukraine saying on Wednesday that it was starting to push back against Russian forces on the eastern bank.
Ukrainian group says more than 30,000 troops have died in Russia’s invasion
(Reuters) – A Ukrainian civic group said it has confirmed the deaths of nearly 25,000 Ukrainian soldiers since Russia’s February 2022 invasion by using open sources, and puts the total toll at more than 30,000.

10 November
Ukraine Should Postpone Its Election
Voting amid a raging war would carry too many risks. But the government can still strengthen democracy in the meantime.
(Bloomberg Editorial Board) If these were normal times, Ukraine would be preparing to hold presidential elections in March. But with war raging and parts of the country under Russian occupation, that looks increasingly infeasible. Delaying the vote makes sense — so long as the government commits to strengthening democracy in the meantime.
The practical challenges of holding an election in wartime are immense. Even if a semblance of campaigning were possible, the mere act of voting could pose unacceptable risks. Russian forces have no qualms about attacking civilian infrastructure, and landmines make travel to polling booths hugely dangerous. The safety of election monitors can’t be guaranteed. And securing election documents and transporting them to voting stations would strain scarce military resources.

9 November
A possible compromise on Ukraine
Michael E. O’Hanlon
(Brookings) Although compromise may be a dirty word in Washington these days, I would like to propose one for the question of how the United States should support Ukraine going forward.
The essence of the compromise would not be simply to split the difference on funding for Kyiv — somewhere between the $60 billion that President Joe Biden wants (on top of the more than $70 billion from the United States to date over the last two years) and the zero preferred by much of the GOP in the House of Representatives. Rather, it would attempt to take the best idea from each side and build a new policy approach on top of that foundation.
… The United States should fund the Ukraine effort at Biden’s requested level of just over $60 billion and provide virtually all the types of weaponry Ukraine may request over the next 18 months, in the hope that Ukraine can break the stalemate sometime in 2024 or early 2025. But by the winter/spring of 2025, a newly elected American president should ask his or her national security team to conduct a thorough review of Ukraine policy — and if the war still remains largely stalemated at that point, the United States should seriously consider a Plan B while encouraging its allies and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to do the same.
… a U.S. policy that planned on a major review after 18 months would merely recognize that any newly elected president would inevitably be expected to direct a review of a policy as important as that for Ukraine. Furthermore, it would also provide a more satisfying answer to the issue of expected war duration than Biden’s slogan that we will support Ukraine “for as long as it takes.” Surely, reinforcing stalemate indefinitely, at huge cost in blood, cannot be a basis for long-term U.S. policy, if that is where we still find ourselves in early 2025. By that point, the deadlock might have lasted more than two years.
Moreover, there is a Plan B that while being far from optimal is acceptable for core U.S. and NATO interests — and for most of Ukraine’s interests as well. It is not perfect, but neither is today’s world in general. At some point, it would become preferable to open-ended conflict of indeterminate duration.

The War in Ukraine is Entering a New Phase
A conversation with war correspondent Tim Mak
(Global Dispatches) The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point — at least from the perspective of Ukraine’s top military commander Valery Zaluzhny. In wide ranging remarks last week in The Economist, Zaluzhny described the war as as stalemate, likening it to the trench warfare of World War I. “The war is now moving to a new stage: what we in the military call ‘positional’ warfare of static and attritional fighting, as in the first world war, in contrast to the ‘manoeuvre’ warfare of movement and speed,” he wrote. “This will benefit Russia, allowing it to rebuild its military power, eventually threatening Ukraine’s armed forces and the state itself.”
These remarks come on the heels of a disappointing counter-offensive that began in earnest in June. The counter-offensive certainly made some gains, but nothing approaching expectations. Meanwhile, the Israel-Palestine crisis has sucked up international attention — and potentially diverted arms intended for Ukraine’s defense. And here in the United States, the determination of many Republican members of Congress to block further US aid for Ukraine also adds a challenging variable to Ukraine’s future success.
All of this suggests that we are entering a new phase in the conflict, so for today’s Global Dispatches podcast episode I wanted to get a sense of how these changes are being felt in Ukraine.

8 November
Ukraine hails ‘historic step’ as EU takes Kyiv closer to membership
By Gabriela Baczynska and Marine Strauss
Ukraine clears key milestone as Russia war drags into 21st month
Recommendation will inform December decision by EU leaders
Conditional backing for talks with Moldova and Bosnia as well
Commission proposes EU candidate status for Georgia when ready
(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy praised as a “historic step” a recommendation by the European Union executive on Wednesday to invite Kyiv to begin membership talks as soon as it meets final conditions, even as it fights to repel Russia’s war.

12 October
Ukraine, Canada and the ‘Call of History’
Colin Robertson
(Policy) … If the war in Ukraine has given new meaning to NATO, bringing in Ukraine [to the EU] continues Europe’s move eastwards.
Invoking the “call of history” in her annual address to Parliament in September, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that Ukraine’s future is “in the Union”. The EU’s 27 foreign ministers met recently in Kyiv to demonstrate, as French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna put it, “our resolute and lasting support for Ukraine, until it can win. It is also a message to Russia”, continued Colonna, “that it should not count on our weariness. We will be there for a long time to come.”
Accession talks could begin as soon as December. Ukraine is required to meet seven conditions laid out by the European Commission, including judicial reforms and anti-corruption measures. In 2022, Transparency International scored Ukraine near the bottom in its corruption index, only a couple of points ahead of Russia. Ukraine currently meets only two of the EU conditions. Both financial and technical support from Canada and the allies is essential, especially when it comes to transparency and good governance.
The war in Ukraine is challenging the EU and rekindling debate on core values such as an independent judiciary and a free press while underlining the importance of collective security. It is also pointing to the backsliders — Viktor Orban in Hungary and the Law and Justice government in Poland — that defy these values with little sanction.
Then, there is the cost. Ukraine would be the first new EU member since Croatia joined in 2013. Accession would entitle Ukraine to about €186 billion over seven years, according to internal estimates of the Union’s common budget.
There will be strong pressure from the other states awaiting membership: Turkey (since 1999), North Macedonia (2005), Montenegro (2010), Serbia (2012), Albania (2014), Moldova (2022), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (2022). Georgia also wants in.
Adding all nine would cost €256.8 billion. “All member states”, the EU study concluded, “will have to pay more to and receive less from the EU budget; many member states who are currently net receivers will become net contributors.” As Canadians know, redistribution — or what we call equalization — is controversial, both politically and economically.

25 September
Andrew Potter: Canada’s shame is Ukraine’s disaster
There’s no question that everyone is getting tired of this war. The blanket solidarity and unity that held over the last year is starting to unravel. Inevitably, politics has started to intervene.
(The Line) All told, a decently successful tour for a man who has managed to maintain his stature as a statesman and wartime leader, even as his most stalwart allies grow visibly weary of the conflict. While everyone continues to say the right things about supporting Ukraine “for as long as it takes,” it is hard to ignore how much has changed in the year and a half since Russia launched the so-called “full-scale invasion” of Ukraine.

24 September
Zelenskyy seeks to rebuild bridges with Poles amid dispute over grain and weapons
Eschewing political confrontation, Ukrainian president gives awards to two volunteers, thanking ‘all of Poland’ for its support for Kyiv.
Although Poland was a die-hard ally of Ukraine in the early days of the Russian invasion, the conservative, nationalist government of the Law and Justice (PiS) party has taken an unexpectedly hard line against its war-torn neighbor in the past days, largely for reasons related to the impending election on October 15.
In order to protect Polish farmers — crucial to the ruling party’s electoral prospects next month — Warsaw has blocked agricultural imports from Ukraine, in a protectionist move that Kyiv says is illegal and has referred to the World Trade Organization.

21 September
Poland will no longer send weapons to Ukraine, says PM, as grain dispute escalates
Comments by Polish PM follow Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s accusation that some in Europe are in effect aiding Russia
(The Guardian) Poland, one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies, has announced an end to its arms transfers to the country, a day after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Warsaw of playing into Russia’s hands by banning Ukrainian grain imports.
Poland is one of Kyiv’s main weapons suppliers and has been one of the loudest cheerleaders for the Ukrainian cause since the full-scale invasion began in February 2022, but relations have soured over recent days amid the growing row over grain.
The argument has led to heated rhetoric between the two countries on the sidelines of the UN general assembly, with the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, comparing Ukraine to “a drowning person clinging to anything available”.
Feud Between Friends Spells Danger for Ukraine
(Bloomberg) It’s never easy to see friends fight. Especially when there’s a war on.
That’s what makes the dispute between Ukraine and Poland so worrying: The latter is a crucial ally to Kyiv and the key gateway for economic and military aid aimed at stopping Russia’s invasion. … While Poland appeared to be seeking to calm the situation today, the dispute cast doubt over Europe’s commitment to Ukraine over the long haul. And the once-strong friendship between allies may never be the same.

19-20 September
Ukraine calls for return of ‘abducted’ children as more arrive in Belarus
Ukraine says Russia taking its children is an attempt to deprive them of their national identity as Ukrainians
(Al Jazeera) Ukraine says more than 19,000 children have been taken illegally by Russia since it began its full-scale invasion.
Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska has called on world leaders to help ensure the return of thousands of Ukrainian children forcibly taken by Russia as Belarusian state media published photos of dozens of Ukrainian children arriving in Belarus from Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.
Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Zelenska said more than 19,000 Ukrainian children had been forcibly transferred or deported to Russia or the territories it has occupied.

Russian ‘evil cannot be trusted’, Zelensky tells UN
Ukrainian President Zelensky has addressed the UN General Assembly in New York, seeking further support in the war against Russia
(BBC) He urged the gathering of nearly 200 world leaders to unify, and not to discuss matters behind closed doors
Zelensky spoke next about his peace formula, which he says will end the war in Ukraine.
There is also a peace summit in the works, he says, and invited his audience to attend once confirmed.
He says unity should be discussed openly, not behind closed doors.
“Evil cannot be trusted, just ask Prigozhin,” Zelensky said, referring to the former ally of Vladimir Putin who died last month in a plane crash
Zelensky warned of the threat of Russia’s nuclear weapons, as well as the threat posed by the weaponisation of food and AI
He also accused Moscow of carrying out “genocide” by abducting Ukrainian children.
In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over the alleged unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia.
Moscow has repeatedly denied Ukraine’s accusations – but a number international experts and organisations point to a growing evidence that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine.

18 September
Zelensky Cleans House in Corruption-Plagued Defense Ministry
Ukraine dismissed all six of its deputy defense ministers as Mr. Zelensky headed to the United States, where he is scheduled to address the United Nations on Tuesday.
(NYT) The shake-up in President Volodymyr Zelensky’s wartime leadership team came as he headed to the United States, keen to demonstrate to American officials and other Western leaders that his government is not squandering — on either graft or mismanagement — the tens of billions of dollars in aid they have sent to Ukraine.
Mr. Zelensky is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly in person on Tuesday in New York, and later in the week to meet with President Biden and members of Congress in Washington in his ongoing efforts to shore up support for military aid. He is expected to argue that defending Europe’s borders from an expansionist Russia in Ukraine serves Western interests in preventing a wider war and the destabilization of the European Union.

4 August
China to attend talks on Ukraine in Saudi Arabia that exclude Russia
Ukraine hopes to leverage Saudi diplomatic reach
(Reuters) Ukrainian and Western diplomats hope the meeting in Jeddah of national security advisers and other senior officials from some 40 countries will agree on key principles for a future peace settlement to end Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday he hoped the initiative will lead to a “peace summit” of leaders from around the world this autumn to endorse the principles, based on his own 10-point formula for a settlement.
Zelenskiy’s formula includes respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the withdrawal of Russian troops, anathema to Moscow which claims to have annexed occupied Ukrainian territory forever.
Ukrainian, Russian and international officials say there is no prospect of direct peace talks between Ukraine and Russia at the moment, as the war continues to rage and Kyiv seeks to reclaim territory through a counter-offensive.
But Ukraine aims first to build a bigger coalition of diplomatic support beyond its core Western backers by reaching out to Global South countries such as India, Brazil and South Africa, many of which have remained publicly neutral.

30 July
Officials say Saudi Arabia will host a Ukrainian-organized peace summit over Russia’s war in August
(AP) — Saudi Arabia will host a Ukrainian-organized peace summit in early August seeking to find a way to start negotiations over Russia’s war on the country, officials said Sunday.
The summit will be held in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, said one official. Russia was not invited, the official added. Hours later, the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Andriy Yermak, confirmed the talks would be held in Saudi Arabia, without naming Jeddah as the location.
29 July
‘We Can Never Forgive This’: In Odesa, Attacks Stoke Hatred of Russia
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia views Odesa as a culturally important part of his nation. But many in the Ukrainian city reject the connection and view the country that has been attacking it with loathing.
(NYT) … The House of Scientists, one of the Ukrainian city’s best-loved buildings, was in shambles. … a series of missile strikes damaged the city’s port and 29 historic buildings in its Belle Époque city center, including the Transfiguration Cathedral, one of Ukraine’s largest.
Odesa plays an important role in the mind of imperial Russians, and especially President Vladimir V. Putin, who views it as an integral part of Russian culture. … Moscow’s attachment to Odesa owes to the Ukrainian city’s literary tradition. Prominent Russian-language authors wrote some of their most important works here. Aleksandr Pushkin, Russia’s beloved poet, spent 13 months in Odesa writing “Eugene Onegin,” his novel in verse, during a period of exile from Moscow.
24 July
Historic Ukrainian cathedral badly damaged in Russian strikes
(CNN) Russian missiles badly damaged dozens of Ukrainian architectural landmarks, including a historic Orthodox cathedral in the southern port city of Odesa, sparking outrage and prompting President Volodymyr Zelensky to vow retaliation.
The strikes – the latest in a wave of attacks on Odesa – killed at least one person and injured several others, Ukrainian officials said. At least 25 architectural monuments were destroyed, a regional military official said.
“Russians deliberately aimed their missiles at the historic city center of Odesa, which is under the UNESCO protection. Everything that was built with hard work by great architects is now being destroyed by cynical inhumans,” Oleh Kiper said.

12-13 July
Zelensky’s angry tweet on NATO membership nearly backfired
The Ukrainian president’s fiery response to NATO’s conditions-based pledge in Vilnius touched off a scramble — and brief consideration of watering down what Kyiv would be offered, officials said
(WaPo) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s confrontational tweet this week challenging NATO leaders on the glacial pace of his war-torn country’s admission into the alliance so roiled the White House that U.S. officials involved with the process considered scaling back the “invitation” for Kyiv to join, according to six people familiar with the matter.
G7 countries sign declaration outlining long-term security guarantees for Ukraine
(CNBC) The Group of Seven (G7) coalition on Wednesday revealed a long-term security framework for Ukraine.
“We consider Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine to be a threat to international peace and security, a flagrant violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and incompatible with our security interests,” the G7 said in a joint declaration of support.
Moscow sharply criticized the G7’s security pledges to Ukraine.

7 July
Biden, U.S. leaders insist war with Russia must end before Ukraine joins NATO
Ahead of this week’s NATO summit in Lithuania, U.S. leaders are insisting that the war with Russia must end before Ukraine is invited to join the powerful military alliance.
President Biden said during an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that aired Sunday that he doesn’t believe there will be “unanimity” on the issue of Ukraine’s membership while the nation remains “in the middle of a war.”
“We’re determined to [protect] every inch of territory that is NATO territory,” Biden said, noting that if Ukraine were part of NATO, it would put the alliance at war with Russia.

21 June
Allies Pledge Billions for Ukraine’s Recovery as Zelensky Stresses Urgency
The price tag for reconstruction has soared, driving debate among U.S. and European officials, legal experts and others about using frozen Russian assets to pay for it.
(NYT) Western countries pledged tens of billions of dollars to rebuild war-torn Ukraine on Wednesday, as leaders gathered at a two-day conference convened by the British government in the shadow of Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia.
But with the total cost of reconstruction projected to spiral into the hundreds of billions of dollars, the prospect of using confiscated Russian assets to pay for it emerged as a potent, if problematic, theme at the gathering.
Britain and the European Union are both exploring legal mechanisms to divert frozen Russian assets to Ukraine. Globally, these public and private assets are estimated to be worth at least $300 billion, a sizable chunk of the total reconstruction cost, which the World Bank currently estimates at more than $411 billion.

18 June
Ukraine Appears to Make a Small Gain in the South as Counteroffensive Continues
A Russian official and military bloggers said Sunday that Kyiv’s forces had retaken another village in their fight to recapture territory, a claim the Russian Defense Ministry denied.
Those gains so far have come at the cost of Ukrainian lives and advanced Western equipment, but military analysts caution that it could take weeks or months to gauge the success of the counteroffensive.

15 June
Zelenskyy urges African leaders to press Putin on release of political prisoners
(AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to a group of African leaders to ask his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to free political prisoners from Crimea and beyond — saying it could be an important part of their trip to Russia on Saturday.
Seven African leaders — presidents of Comoros, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia, as well as Egypt’s prime minister and top envoys from the Republic of Congo and Uganda — visited Ukraine on Friday as part of a self-styled “peace mission” to both Ukraine and Russia to try to help end their nearly 16-month-old war.
The African leaders were traveling to meet with Putin on Saturday in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.

US lawmakers hope Ukraine can fight Russia with Russian assets
(Reuters) – Republican and Democratic members of the U.S. Congress introduced legislation on Thursday that would make it easier for Ukraine to fund its fight against Russian invaders by using seized and frozen Russian assets.
The U.S. Congress has approved more than $100 billion in military, humanitarian and economic aid for Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022. While leaders of both parties insist U.S. support for the Kyiv government remains strong, some members of Congress have questioned how long that level of aid can continue amid calls to clamp down on government spending.

6-13 June
C.I.A. Told Ukraine Last Summer It Should Not Attack Nord Stream Pipelines
Dutch intelligence officials shared information with the C.I.A. in June 2022 that they had learned the Ukrainian military had been planning an operation using divers to blow up one of the pipelines.
(NYT) …the original tip by the Dutch, according to U.S. officials, was that Ukraine had already reconsidered and canceled the operation. In reality, American officials now believe, the operation was not aborted but delayed, potentially with a different Ukraine-aligned group carrying out the attack.
Explosions destroyed parts of the pipelines, which carry natural gas from Russia to Europe, in September. The Ukrainian government has repeatedly denied responsibility for the attack.
Nord Stream: Zelenskiy rejects claim of Ukraine plot to destroy pipeline
US media has reported that the White House was briefed about a Ukrainian plot to blow up the pipeline months before it occurred
(The Guardian) Kyiv knew nothing about a plan to blow up the Nord Stream gas pipelines, president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said, amid growing speculation that Ukraine was behind the blast.
In an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper, Zelenskiy said that as president, he had the power to give orders, but that he would “never do that”, referring to the attack on the pipeline.
Biden ‘knew of Ukrainian plan to attack Nord Stream’ three months before explosion
Washington Post reports that European intelligence service told CIA Ukrainian military was planning attack
A European intelligence service told the CIA that the Ukrainian military was planning an attack using a small team of divers who reported directly to the commander in chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, the paper reported. The six-person team reported directly to General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the report claimed, so that president Volodymyr Zelenskiy would not know about the operation.
The Washington Post report was based on a larger leak of secret documents that was shared by a a US armed services member on the chat platform Discord.

6-9 June
Kyiv says it intercepted call showing Russia blew up Kakhovka dam
(Reuters via CTV) Ukraine’s domestic security service said on Friday it had intercepted a telephone call proving a Russian “sabotage group” blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric station and dam in southern Ukraine.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) posted a one-and-a-half-minute audio clip on its Telegram channel of the alleged conversation, which featured two men who appeared to be discussing the fallout from the disaster in Russia.
UN aid chief says Ukraine faces `hugely worse’ humanitarian situation after the dam rupture
(AP) — The humanitarian situation in Ukraine is “hugely worse” than before the Kakhovka dam collapsed, the U.N.’s top aid official warned Friday.
Undersecretary-General Martin Griffiths said an “extraordinary” 700,000 people are in need of drinking water and warned that the ravages of flooding in one of the world’s most important breadbaskets will almost inevitably lead to lower grain exports, higher food prices around the world, and less to eat for millions in need
“This is a viral problem,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But the truth is this is only the beginning of seeing the consequences of this act.”
The rupture of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam and emptying of its reservoir on the Dnieper River on Wednesday added to the misery in a region that has suffered for more than a year from artillery and missile attacks.
Ukraine holds the Dnieper’s western bank, while Russian troops control the low-lying eastern side, which is more vulnerable to flooding. The dam and reservoir, essential for fresh water and irrigation in southern Ukraine, lies in the Kherson region that Moscow illegally annexed in September and has occupied for the past year.
Evidence grows of explosion at collapsed Ukraine dam
By Dan Peleschuk
Ukraine’s SBU: Rcording shows Russian sabotage blew up dam
Norway seismic data show signals of blast
US spy satellite detects explosion
(Reuters) – Evidence was growing on Friday that there was an explosion at the Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine around the time it collapsed, according to Ukrainian and U.S. intelligence reports and seismic data from Norway.
Ukraine’s security service said it had intercepted a telephone call proving a Russian “sabotage group” blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric station and dam early on Tuesday in the Kherson region.
Kakhovka dam: first flooding deaths reported as Ukraine criticises global aid response
Volodymyr Zelenskiy says its impossible to predict how many people will die in Russian-occupied areas as he appeals for international assistance
(The Guardian) In an address on Wednesday evening, Zelenskiy said it was impossible to predict how many people would die in Russian-occupied parts of Kherson due to the flooding, urging a “clear and rapid reaction from the world” to support victims.
“Our military and special services are rescuing people as much as it is possible, despite the shelling. But large-scale efforts are needed,” he said. “We need international organisations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, to immediately join the rescue operation and help people in the occupied part of Kherson region.
Ukraine dam: Floods devastate tracts of rich farmland
(BBC) The immediate humanitarian consequences, in flooded homes and displaced civilians, are dramatic enough.
But Ukrainian officials are now warning of serious long-term consequences for agriculture across one of the country’s most fertile areas.
The agriculture ministry on Wednesday predicted that fields in southern Ukraine could “turn into deserts as early as next year”, as vital irrigation systems, which depend on the vast Kakhovka reservoir, cease to function.
The reservoir is fast disappearing, sending an estimated 4.4 cubic miles of water roaring down the Dnipro River towards the Black Sea.
Apart from its famous watermelons, the rich farmland either side of the Dnipro River produces a host of different crops, from onions and tomatoes to sunflowers, soybeans and wheat. Dairy farms are also likely to be affected.
Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, including Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, may see some of the worst impacts.
The flooding along the Russian-controlled southern shore of the Dnipro is significantly worse than on the Ukrainian-held northern side.
Ukraine dam’s destruction could ‘forever’ change ecosystems, officials say
The destruction of a major dam and hydroelectric power plant on the front lines of the war in Ukraine may dry up the rich agricultural region of southern Ukraine, sweep pollutants into waterways and upend ecosystems that had developed around the massive reservoir whose waters are now rapidly flooding downstream, although the full impact could take months or even years to understand, officials and experts said.
The escape of the huge store of water from the reservoir will reshape Ukraine’s map, its habitats and its livelihood, endangering communities that depend on the water for drinking and growing crops, forcing farmers out of business, pushing towns to relocate and unsettling delicate ecological balances. Ukrainian officials warned that at least 150 tons of oil stored inside the hydroelectric power plant in the dam were washed into the waterway. Water from the reservoir also fed the cooling ponds of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, in Zaporizhzhia, although nuclear experts said there was no immediate threat.
The damage to the Russian-controlled dam would make it difficult for Ukrainian troops to cross into Crimea and other Russian-occupied cities in the south. On the other hand, it could eventually cut water off from Crimea and other parts of Russian-held territory. Flooding in the region could also affect Russian defenses and supply routes.
Zelenskyy calls for international aid as waters rise, Ukrainians flee homes after dam break
“It is necessary for international organizations, like the International Committee of the Red Cross, to get immediately involved in the rescue operation and help people in the occupied part of Kherson region,” Zelenskyy said in his daily video address.
“If an international organization is not present in the disaster zone, it means it does not exist at all or is incapable.”
Ukrainians abandoned their inundated homes as floodwaters crested across a swath of the south on Wednesday after the destruction of a vast dam on the front line between Russian and Ukrainian forces that each blamed on the other.
Tens of thousands at risk from flooding after Ukraine dam collapse
Russia, Ukraine blame each other for collapse of dam
Residents wade through floodwaters to evacuate
Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has enough water to cool – UN
(Reuters) – About 42,000 people were at risk from flooding in Russian and Ukrainian controlled areas along the Dnipro River after a dam collapsed, as the United Nations aid chief warned of “grave and far-reaching consequences.”
Ukraine and Russia blame each other for the collapse of the massive dam on Tuesday, which sent floodwaters across a swathe of the war zone and forced thousands to flee.
Ukraine said Russia committed a deliberate war crime in blowing up the Soviet-era Nova Kakhovka dam, which powered a hydroelectric station. The Kremlin blamed Ukraine, saying it was trying to distract from the launch of a major counteroffensive Moscow says is faltering.

5 June
Ukraine’s troops attack along front in apparent precursor to counteroffensive
Russian forces driven back in at least two areas as Zelenskiy hails advances by his country’s ‘warriors’
(The Guardian) Ukrainian troops went on the attack at multiple points along the frontline in the Donetsk region on Monday, driving back Russian forces in at least two areas in what appeared to be the preliminary stages of Ukraine’s long-anticipated counteroffensive.
Ukraine’s Zelenskiy welcomes ‘the news we have been waiting for’
(Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed on Monday what he called “the news we have been waiting for” from troops fighting in and around the shattered eastern city of Bakhmut, but gave no further details.

At Normandy D-Day celebrations, echoes of Ukraine’s looming fight
(AP) — While U.S. military officers caution against too direct a comparison between the 1944 D-Day landings and Ukraine’s upcoming counteroffensive, the echoes of what Kyiv faces today are a dominant theme of this year’s commemorations of the young U.S. soldiers who died on the Normandy beaches nearly 80 years ago.
The celebration is taking place as Ukraine prepares to launch its own counteroffensive against Russia — an impending fight for which many of those same allied forces have now provided billions of dollars in weapons and training to Kyiv’s soldiers to best prepare them to win

3 June
‘We will succeed’: Zelenskiy says Ukraine ready to launch counteroffensive
Ukraine’s president hints at concern over a possible Trump return in 2024 in Wall Street Journal interview
(The Guardian) Volodymyr Zelenskiy, giving an interview to the Wall Street Journal, suggested that a significant attack could come soon and said he hoped a change in the US presidency would not impact military aid to Kyiv.
“We strongly believe that we will succeed,” Zelenskiy told the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper, although he acknowledged he did not know how long the counteroffensive would take or how well it would go. “To be honest, it can go a variety of ways, completely different. But we are going to do it, and we are ready,” Zelenskiy said, after months of troop training and significant arms donations from the west.

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