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COUNTEROFFENSIVE

Ukraine recap: Kyiv says two villages recaptured by its forces

A woman stands on a flooded street on 10 June 2023 in Kherson, Ukraine. Early last Tuesday, the Nova Kakhovka dam and hydroelectric power plant were destroyed, causing massive downstream flooding. (Photo: Roman Pilipey / Getty Images)

Ukraine said its forces liberated at least two villages in the east of the country on Sunday in the first wave of a long-expected offensive to take back Russian-occupied territory. ‘We’re seeing the first results of the counteroffensive actions, localised results,’ Ukrainian military spokesman Valeriy Shershen said on television.

Ukraine’s gains, announced in social media posts and statements by its military, couldn’t be independently verified. Russia’s defence ministry called the situation fluid. “Nothing extraordinary is happening,” Vladimir Rogov, a Russian occupation official in the Zaporizhzhia region, said on Telegram.

The villages, Blahodatne and Neskuchne, are in the Donetsk region near the border with Russia. Russia’s defence ministry said earlier on Sunday that it had repelled an attack by Ukrainian speedboats on one of its Black Sea naval vessels.

Evacuations continue in flooded regions of Kherson after the Nova Kakhovka dam was destroyed almost a week ago, causing a humanitarian and environmental disaster. Russian soldiers were again reported to have attacked civilians involved in rescue efforts. Three people were killed and another 10 were injured when their small boat came under fire, the region’s governor said on Telegram.

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