Russia Strikes Ukraine Dam As Losses Mount

Wednesday, September 14, 2022 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , ,

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent

KYIV/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Faced with unprecedented losses in a proverbial David-versus-Goliath battle, mighty took revenge and attacked a dam in the Ukrainian industrial city of Kryvyi Rih, sending water gushing downstream, witnesses said.

Ukrainian officials said eight missiles had struck the dam in the central city of Kryvyi Rih, which lies south of Kharkiv, where Ukrainian forces defeated Russian troops.

Preliminary reports suggested there were no casualties, but there was flooding, and several districts of Kryvyi Rih remain without running clean water, authorities explained.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday night that the attacks show Russia “continues to wage against civilians” after his forces recaptured territories.

“All the occupiers can do is to sow panic, create an emergency situation, try to leave people without light, heat, water, and food,” he added.

Earlier this week, Russian troops attacked the region of Kharkiv’s power plants, knocking out electricity to much of the city.

Moscow has denied deliberately targeting civilian sites despite overwhelming video footage and witness accounts reporting the attacks.

COUNTEROFFENSIVE CONTINUES

After visiting the liberated city of Izium, Zelensky claimed that ’s troops recaptured around 8,000 sq km (3,100 square miles) of territory in the east and south of the country.

He was visibly moved by what he saw in the freed area where security officials said they found a “torture chamber” used by Russian troops to hold Ukrainian prisoners in the eastern city of Balakliia.

Serhiy Bolvinov, head of the Kharkiv region national police investigation department, said that 40 people had been detained during the occupation.

One resident told reporters that he was held by Russians in the city’s police station for more than 40 days and was tortured with electrocution.

Zelensky made clear he hopes survivors can restart their lives, saying “almost the entire [eastern Kharkiv] region is de-occupied” after a lightning counteroffensive to dislodge Russian troops. “It was an unprecedented movement of our soldiers – the Ukrainians once again managed to do what many thought was impossible,” Zelensky added.

Zelensky appeared on television after a traffic accident in Kyiv, the capital, in which he wasn’t seriously hurt, his spokesperson said early on Thursday.

SECURITY QUESTIONS

Serhii Nykyforov, who did not say when the accident occurred, said Zelensky’s car had collided with a private vehicle. “The president was examined by a doctor, and no serious injuries were found,” he confirmed, adding the accident would be investigated.

Medics accompanying Zelensky gave the driver of the private car emergency aid and put him in an ambulance, the spokesman explained.

The traffic accident raised questions about the president’s security detail when he leads a nation in an increasingly successful war against Russia, which faces losses on the battlefields.

And there were fresh questions among Kremlin officials if the extended war, in which tens of thousands of Russian soldiers are believed to have died, could have been avoided.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief envoy to Ukraine told the Russian leader as the war began that he had struck a provisional deal with Kyiv. The agreement would satisfy Russia’s demand that Ukraine stays out of NATO, Reuters news agency reported Wednesday.

But Putin rejected it and pressed ahead with his military campaign, Reuters cited three people close to the Russian leadership as saying.

TOPPLING GOVERNMENT?

The Ukrainian-born envoy, Dmitry Kozak, told Putin that he believed the deal he had hammered out removed the need for Russia to pursue a large-scale occupation of Ukraine, according to these sources.

It raised the prospect that Putin wanted to topple Ukraine’s government and annex the nation after already calling the collapse of the Moscow-led Soviet Union the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20st] century.”

Kremlin sources “are now working to clear [Russia’s President Vladimir] Putin of any responsibly of the defeat, instead blaming the loss of almost all of occupied Kharkiv oblast on under-informed military advisers,” according to the Institute of the Study of War.

In a statement, the institute said that “Kremlin officials and state media propagandists are extensively discussing the reasons for the Russian defeat in Kharkiv oblast, a marked change from their previous pattern of reporting on exaggerated or fabricated Russian successes with limited detail.”

Despite mounting losses, Russia’s president appears in no mood to end the war he calls “a special military operation”, several leaders confirmed Wednesday.

Putin still believes he was right to launch an invasion of Ukraine, the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said on Wednesday after a 90-minute telephone call with the Russian president. “Sadly, I cannot tell you that the impression has grown that it was a mistake to begin this war,” Scholz added.

MORE WEAPONS

Germany has delivered four more Gepard anti-aircraft guns and 65 refrigerators to Ukraine, the German government also announced Wednesday.

The four additional units bring the total number of Gepard units provided by Germany to Ukraine to 24.

Germany had been reluctant to deliver weapons due to its role in World War Two but had come under Ukrainian pressure to do more.

The weapons deliveries underscored concerns that the war would continue for some time to come.

Prospects for peace in Ukraine are currently “minimal,” the United Nations secretary-general noted on Wednesday after his phone conversation with Putin.

“I have the feeling we are still far away from peace. I would be lying if I would say it could happen soon,” António Guterres acknowledged, adding: “I have no illusion; at the present moment, the chances of a peace deal are minimal.” Even a ceasefire was “not in sight,” he said.

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