Ukraine: Zelenskyy visits flood-hit region after dam breach
President Zelenskyy said he has visited the flood-hit region of Kherson, as rescue efforts continue following the breach of the Kakhovka dam and says more help is needed
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he has visited the flood-hit southern region of Kherson to assess the situation following the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam.
"Many important issues were discussed. The operational situation in the region as a result of the disaster, evacuation of the population from potential flood zones, elimination of the emergency caused by the dam explosion, organization of life support for the flooded areas," Zelenskyy said in a Telegram post.
Zelenskyy also expressed concern about a lack of support following the destruction of the dam.
It comes as the first deaths were reported following the breach of the dam in the Russian-occupied area of southern Ukraine.
"The situation in occupied parts of the Kherson region is absolutely catastrophic. The occupiers are simply abandoning people in frightful conditions. No help, without water, left on the roofs of houses in submerged communities," Zelenskyy said.
Flooding from the breach extends over 600 square kilometres on the Ukrainian-held right bank of the Dnieper River and the Russian-held left bank, the governor of the Kherson region said.
"The average level of flooding is 5.61 metres. 600 square kilometres of the Kherson region are under water, of which 32 percent is the right bank and 68 percent is the left bank," Oleksandr Prokudin, said on social media.
Russian state-owned news agency Tass reported emergency services have said that up to 14,000 homes have been flooded, and nearly 4,300 people evacuated in Russian areas.
The state emergency service of Ukraine said 1,995 people had been evacuated from flooded areas, including 103 children.
The reason for the dam's collapse remains unclear. Ukraine blamed Russia for blowing up the structure while some experts said it might have been due to war time damage and neglect.
The World Bank is conducting a rapid assessment of damage and needs, Anna Bjerde, managing director for operations said on Twitter.
The destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam has "many very serious consequences for essential service delivery and the broader environment," she said.
Bjerde added that the new damage assessment would build on the bank's previous analysis of damage to Ukraine's infrastructure and buildings, which estimated that it would cost $411 billion to rebuild Ukraine's economy after Russia's invasion.
Here are some of the other developments concerning Russia's war in Ukraine on Thursday, June 8:
'Heavy fighting' along the front — British military intelligence
The UK's Ministry of Defence (MOD) said that the current operational situation was "highly complex" and that "heavy fighting continues along multiple sectors of the front."
In its daily intelligence briefing the MOD pointed out that Ukrainian forces were holding the initiative in most areas in question.
The MOD said that it was likely that Russian forces were receiving orders to return to the offensive as soon as possible however Chechen units had failed in an attempt to take the town of Marivka situated near Donetsk city.
Regarding the breach of the Kakhovka dam, the MOD said that flood levels would likely begin receding throughout Thursday. Shelling was said to be complicating evacuation efforts of displaced civilians from flooded areas.
Russia welcomes African peace mission — South Africa's Ramaphosa
The Kremlin has welcomed an African initiative to send a peace delegation to Russia and Ukraine, according to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa's office.
"(Russian President Vladimir Putin) has welcomed the initiative by African Heads of State and expressed his desire to receive the peace mission," the South African presidency said after a phone call between the two heads of state.
The delegation, made up of a number of leaders of African countries, is expected to visit Ukraine and Russia in June.
Putin and Ramaphosa also discussed the Russia-Africa summit that is scheduled to be held in St. Petersburg in late July, Pretoria said.
EU Agency calls for long-term integration of Ukrainian refugees
European Union governments should prepare to integrate refugees from Ukraine permanently, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has said.
The agency said in its annual report in Vienna that current aid measures should focus on women and children, who make up the majority of refugees.
Some 8.3 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion in early 2022, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. Of those, 5.1 million have temporary protection under special arrangements without them having to apply for asylum in the EU, Norway and Switzerland.
The FRA lauded some EU countries, including Germany, where the accomodation of refugees is centrally regulated by the state or distributed in a balanced way within the country.
"Still, the capacity and suitability of public accommodation is limited by insufficient funding and lack of long-term solutions," it said.
The report called for language training, integration of Ukrainian children into schools and kindergartens and help to their mothers to find work.
Special assistance is required for women who have experienced sexual violence or exploitation, the report noted.
Replacement plane for Air India flights leaves Russia
A replacement plane for an Air India flight that was diverted to Russia because of an engine problem has left for San Francisco with all passenger and crew.
The Boeing 777 left New Delhi carrying 216 passengers and 16 crew members for the US. It was diverted to land at Magadan airport in Siberia on Tuesday because the plane developed a technical issue with one of its engines, Air India had said.
The replacement plane is expected to arrive to San Francisco at 12:15 am Thursday local time.
US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said that fewer than 50 American citizens were on the flight and the department was not aware of any of them reaching out to the US Embassy in Russia.
"The Russian soldiers, the Russian police, the authorities, everyone working in the hostel has been treating us extremely well," said passenger Girvaan Singh Kahma, 16, adding that they were barred from leaving the hostel in Magadan and were unable to use their credit cards because of sanctions over Russia's war in Ukraine.