Latest in Ukraine: Official Says Ukraine Has Recaptured Eight Villages

Latest developments:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia "will lose the occupied territories."
The European Union is stepping up efforts to deliver arms and ammunition to Ukraine, EU industry chief Thierry Breton said Sunday in an interview with French daily Le Parisien. "We are preparing for the war to last several more months, or even longer," he said.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Monday that Ukraine’s forces have retaken eight settlements during the past two weeks, including Piatykhatky in the Zaporizhzhia region.

Since the start of Ukraine’s counteroffensive aimed at reclaiming control of areas seized by Russian forces, Maliar said Ukraine had freed 113 square kilometers of territory.

Russian officials said Monday that shelling in Russia’s Belgorod region, located next to the border with Ukraine, injured seven civilians.

Belgorod Region Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov posted on Telegram that the strikes hit several residential buildings.

Another Russian official said Ukrainian shelling hit two villages in the Kursk region.

Britain’s defense ministry said in its latest assessment Monday that Russia has “highly likely” redeployed thousands of troops from the eastern banks of the Dnipro River to serve as reinforcements to Russian forces in the Bakhmut and Zaporizhzhia areas. The British defense ministry said the move “likely reflects Russia’s perception that a major Ukrainian attack across the Dnipro is now less likely following the collapse of the Kakhovka Dam and the resulting flooding.”

Kakhovka dam

The United Nations said Sunday that Moscow has declined its requests to help residents of Russian-controlled areas of southern Ukraine affected by the Kakhovka dam collapse and pledged to continue engaging to seek the necessary access.

“We urge the Russian authorities to act in accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian law,” U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine Denise Brown said Sunday in statement.

“Aid cannot be denied to people who need it. The U.N. will continue to do all it can to reach all people — including those suffering as a result of the recent dam destruction — who urgently need life-saving assistance, no matter where they are,” she noted.

So far, more than a dozen people have died while 31 are still missing after the floods caused by the dam’s destruction, Ukraine’s interior ministry said. Almost 900 homes remain under water and more than 3,600 people have been evacuated. The collapse of the dam on a hydroelectric station has flooded vast areas and created difficult conditions for thousands made homeless or without vital services.

“The most likely cause of the collapse” of Ukraine’s Kakhovka dam, according to a New York Times report, was the placement of an explosive in the structure’s passageway or gallery, that the publication said, “runs through the concrete heart of the structure.”

The Times’ assessment was based on the expertise of “two American engineers, an expert in explosives and a Ukrainian engineer with extensive experience with the dam’s operations.”

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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