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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Heavy fighting underway in eastern Ukraine, with Bakhmut once again the focus

An aerial view of destruction in Bakhmut on June 1, 2023. Bakhmut and its surroundings continue to be the location of fierce fighting.

Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Heavy fighting is taking place in eastern Ukraine with Bakhmut the town that Russian forces claimed to have fully captured last month once again the focus of hostilities, with Ukraine claiming to be advancing toward the town.

Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said Wednesday that Ukrainian troops are gradually advancing and that everything is going “according to plan.”

“Our troops are advancing toward Bakhmut. It is not so easy because the Russians are bringing in their troops from the rear and trying to reinforce their units in the areas where our armed forces have gone on the offensive. Fierce battles are underway. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are gradually advancing,” she said on national television, according to comments reported by news outlet Ukrinform.

Hanna Maliar also called on the public to remain “patient,” emphasizing that now “it is important to understand that everything is happening according to our plan.” Yesterday, Maliar said Ukrainian units had advanced as much as 1 km in the area around Bakhmut.

A Ukrainian soldier scouts the area with binoculars on the front line in Donetsk.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

There has been widespread speculation that Ukraine launched its much-awaited counteroffensive to retake swathes of the east and south of the country that are occupied by Russian forces, but Kyiv has denied this, although it always said it would not announce offensive actions.

Russia denied Ukraine had made advances around Bakhmut. The Ministry of Defense stated Wednesday evening that “the Armed Forces of Ukraine made attempts to break through the defenses of our troops in the Artemivsk area,” using the Soviet-era name for Bakhmut. 

“The enemy did not achieve the goal of the attack. Wedging in our defense is not allowed. During the fighting, up to 415 Ukrainian servicemen, two tanks, nine armored combat vehicles, six vehicles, the Gvozdika self-propelled artillery mount, and the Msta-B howitzer were destroyed in a day,” the ministry claimed.

CNBC was not able to verify the claims made by either side.

— Holly Ellyatt

Rescue efforts ongoing as first flood deaths confirmed

Rescuers evacuate a woman with her dog in the flooded area of the city of Kherson, Ukraine.

Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Rescue efforts are ongoing in the southern region of Kherson following devastating flooding caused by a breach in the upstream Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam.

Three people are now known to have drowned in the flooding, according to the Kyiv Independent.

Around 30 settlements have been flooded along the Dnipro river, both in Ukrainian and Russian-controlled parts of the region, forcing thousands of people to flee or be rescued. At least 2,000 people in Ukrainian-controlled territory have been rescued, while the Russian-installed governor of the occupied part of Kherson said around 4,000 have been evacuated.

Ukraine’s president and prime minister called for more help from international organizations in the wake of what’s seen as a humanitarian and ecological disaster for Ukraine.

In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “large-scale” rescue efforts are needed as he lambasted international organizations for not doing more.

“We need international organizations, 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.”

“Each person who dies there is a verdict on the existing international architecture and international organizations that have forgotten how to save lives,” he added.

“If there is no international organization in the area of this disaster now, it means that it does not exist at all, that it is incapable of functioning,” he added.

— Holly Ellyatt

UN says it has so far distributed 12,000 water bottles and 10,000 drinking purification tablets to Ukrainian civilians impacted by flooding

Local residents board an emergency vehicle with their belongings as they evacuate a flooded area in Kherson on June 7, 2023, following damages sustained at Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam. 

Aleksey Filippov | Afp | Getty Images

The United Nations said that it has distributed nearly 12,000 bottles of water and approximately 10,000 water purification tablets to areas impacted by flooding due to an attack on the Kakhovka dam.

“We also distributed ready-to-eat food for about 400 people within hours of their evacuation. And today we are providing one month’s worth of food to 200 people in the Mykolaiv region” U.N. Secretary-General spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters during a daily news briefing.

Dujarric added that humanitarian organizations are also helping Ukrainian authorities with rescue operations and delivering hygiene supplies to evacuees in shelters.

— Amanda Macias

Photos show the devastating floods forcing thousands to evacuate southern Ukraine

Photos of the widespread flooding in Ukraine’s southern region started to emerge after the Tuesday predawn attack on the Kakhovka dam.

As a result of the destruction of the dam, thousands are grappling with rising flood waters. First responders and volunteers continue to evacuate civilians and animals from the area.

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy called the Russian attack on the dam “an ecological bomb of mass destruction” on his official Telegram channel.

People ride in a boat past a “Kherson” sign in the flooded area of the city on June 7, 2023, in Kherson, Ukraine.

Yan Dobronosov | Getty Images

A Ukrainian serviceman helps local residents during an evacuation from a flooded area in Kherson on June 7, 2023.

Aleksey Filippov | AFP | Getty Images

Residents of Kherson wear warming blankets after the explosion at the Kakhovka hydropower plant unleashed floodwaters in Kherson, Ukraine, on June 7, 2023.

Seth Herald | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A local resident is seen on an inflatable mattress in a flooded area in Kherson on June 7, 2023, following the destruction of Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam.

Olexander Kornyakov | AFP | Getty Images

Rescuers ride in an amphibious all-terrain vehicle during evacuation in the flooded area of the city on June 7, 2023 in Kherson, Ukraine.

Yan Dobronosov | Getty Images

Local residents board an emergency vehicle with their belongings as they evacuate a flooded area in Kherson on June 7, 2023, following damages sustained at Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam. 

Aleksey Filippov | Afp | Getty Images

In an aerial view, residential houses in the flooded area of the city on June 7, 2023 in Kherson, Ukraine.

Yan Dobronosov | Getty Images

A friend helps a family rescue their belongings from flooding following the destruction of the Kakhovka dam on June 7, 2023 in Kherson, Ukraine.

Alex Babenko | Getty Images

A kitchen flooded following the destruction of the Kakhovka dam on June 7, 2023 in Kherson, Ukraine.

Alex Babenko | Getty Images

Local residents stand on the roof of the entrance to a residential building in the flooded area of the city on June 7, 2023 in Kherson, Ukraine.

Yan Dobronosov | Getty Images

A local resident walks along a flooded street in Kherson on June 7, 2023, following damages sustained at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam.

Aleksey Filippov | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian servicemen help local residents during an evacuation from a flooded area in Kherson on June 7, 2023, following damages sustained at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam. Ukraine was evacuating thousands of people on June 7 after an attack on a major Russian-held dam unleashed a torrent of water, inundating two dozen villages and sparking fears of a humanitarian disaster.

Aleksey Filippov | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian security forces transport local residents in a boat during an evacuation from a flooded area in Kherson on June 7, 2023, following damages sustained at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam.

Aleksey Filippov | AFP | Getty Images

No conclusive assessment of what happened at Kakhovka dam, U.S. says

Maxar satellite imagery BEFORE the damage to the Nova Kakhovka Dam in Ukraine. Please use: Satellite image (c) 2023 Maxar Technologies.

Maxar Technologies | Getty Images

The U.S. State Department said that while it is in contact with Ukrainian authorities regarding the attack on the Kakhovka dam, it does not have an assessment as to what transpired.

“We’re continuing to assess what conclusively happened,” deputy State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters during a press briefing. Patel added that the U.S. is also discussing humanitarian assistance for individuals who were displaced due to the rising flood waters but declined to elaborate.

“It is deeply alarming; it is a tragic outcome of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and so this is something we’ll continue to remain deeply engaged on but I don’t have an updated assessment to offer on this,” Patel said.

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainian prime minister calls on international organizations to ‘intervene immediately’ after dam attack

Local residents stand on the roof of the entrance to a residential building in the flooded area of the city on June 7, 2023 in Kherson, Ukraine.

Yan Dobronosov | Getty Images

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal called on the United Nations, Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations to assist in the fallout from the attack on the Kakhovka dam.

Shmyhal asked international humanitarian organizations to “intervene immediately” as Ukrainian first responders rush to evacuate people and animals from the region.

“As a result of this terrible terrorist attack, dozens of towns were flooded. The Ukrainian authorities organized an evacuation from the territory of the Kherson region controlled by us. However, on the left bank, under temporary occupation, Russians left the people to their own devices. Hundreds of houses literally disappeared underwater,” Shmyhal wrote on his official Telegram channel.

“We urge you to undertake the evacuation of people from the Russian-occupied territories of the Kherson region,” he added.

— Amanda Macias

Turkey’s Erdogan holds separate calls with Zelenskyy and Putin following dam attack

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a press conference after his meeting with Venezuelan President in Ankara on June 8, 2022.

Adem Altan | AFP | Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in separate calls following the attack on the Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine.

Erdogan told both presidents, according to a pair of tweets translated by Google, that there should be the establishment of a commission tasked with carrying out an international investigation into the explosion at the dam.

Erdogan also told both leaders that Turkey remains ready to help with negotiations involving the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which is set to expire in mid-July.

— Amanda Macias

Ukraine says its troops are on the offensive in Bakhmut

An aerial view of destruction in the town of Bakhmut on June 1, 2023 in Bakhmut, Ukraine.

Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said Wednesday that the country’s troops have advancecd as much as one kilometer (0.6 miles) in the Bakhmut area in Donetsk, the epicenter of fighting in eastern Ukraine.

“In the direction of Bakhmut, our troops switched from defense to offensive,” Hanna Maliar said on Telegram in comments translated by Google. She added that over the past day, Ukraine’s forces there had “advanced from 200 to 1,100 meters in various sections of the Bakhmut direction.”

Maliar said Russian forces in Bakhmut were on the defensive in the town as they tried to hold onto occupied positions and were sending in reserves.

After months of intense fighting, Russian mercenary forces claimed to have wholly captured Bakhmut last month before handing over most of their positions to regular Russian army units. Ukraine denied it had lost the now largely-ruined town.

CNBC was unable to immediately verify the minister’s claims. Russia’s defense ministry denied Ukraine had made advances around Bakhmut.

— Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage:

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