This is the situation as it stands on Wednesday, June 7, 2023.
- Ukraine and Russia accused each other of destroying the Nova Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine, while the United States said it could not “say conclusively” what had happened.
- Ukraine blamed Russia for the breach, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy describing it as “an environmental bomb of mass destruction” and a “terrorist” act.
- Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, meanwhile, claimed Ukraine blew up the dam to “redeploy units” from the Kherson region.
- Thousands of people living downstream of the dam were forced to evacuate as water levels and fears of flooding rose, and Ukraine’s State Emergency Service warned civilians to remain vigilant for mines.
- Ukraine’s atomic agency said the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant was “under control” after the dam blast. The plant uses some of the water from the dam for its cooling system.
- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the dam attack was “another devastating consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine”.
- The UN warned the Nova Kakhovka breach could have dire humanitarian consequences for hundreds of thousands of people on “both sides of the front line”.
- Zelenskyy said the dam breach would not affect Ukraine’s counteroffensive and “ability to de-occupy its own territories”.
- Russia’s Shoigu said 71 Russian soldiers had been killed in what he called “an unsuccessful Ukrainian offensive in recent days”.
- Russia’s defence ministry said its forces had full control of Berkhivka, a suburb of the eastern town of Bakhmut, pushing back Ukrainian troops.
- Yevgeny Prigozhin, the boss of Russia’s mercenary Wagner Group, said Moscow was engaging in “wild fantasies” after the country reported it pushed back a “large scale” Ukrainian attack and killed dozens of soldiers.
- The Washington Post reported that the US had intelligence about a Ukrainian special operations forces plan to target the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines between Russia and Germany in the Baltic Sea.
- Ukraine and Russia faced off at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) – the top UN court – over Moscow’s support for pro-Russian forces blamed for “insurrection” against the Ukrainian state and armed violence that included the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014, killing all 298 people on board.
- Zelenskyy urged the Vatican to contribute to the implementation of a Ukrainian peace plan after Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, an envoy of Pope Francis, travelled to Kyiv for talks.
- NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine “shattered peace in Europe”.
- Poland called for “further severe sanctions” against Russia for allegedly blowing up the Nova Kakhovka dam.
- President Sauli Niinistö said Finland would expel nine diplomats from the Russian embassy in Helsinki, accusing them of working on “intelligence missions”.
- Russia’s foreign ministry summoned Belgium’s ambassador in protest at what it said was the use of “Belgian weapons” by pro-Ukrainian armed groups.
- Belarusian tennis star Aryna Sabalenka said she did not approve of her country’s role in the war in Ukraine and was not a supporter of President Alexander Lukashenko.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies