June 7, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Sophie Tanno, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Mike Hayes and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, June 8, 2023
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10:29 p.m. ET, June 6, 2023

US and Western officials see signs Ukraine's counteroffensive is beginning

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand, Alex Marquardt, Jim Sciutto and Jennifer Hansler

US and Western officials see signs that Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive against Russia is beginning and have noted a “substantial increase in fighting” in the east of the country over the past 48 hours as Ukrainian troops probe for weaknesses in Russian defensive lines, a senior NATO official said on Tuesday.

While preliminary attacks, also known as “shaping” operations, have been underway for at least two weeks, Ukrainian forces have in the past several days begun testing Russian positions with artillery strikes and ground attacks to find vulnerable areas they can break through, the NATO official and a senior European military intelligence official told CNN.

The destruction of a sprawling dam in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Kherson region, which triggered a wave of evacuations on Tuesday as floods of water spilled from the Nova Kakhovka hydro-electric plant, could complicate some of Ukraine’s plans, officials told CNN.

The dam’s destruction could now make it more difficult for Ukrainian troops to cross the Dnipro River and attack Russian positions there, said two Western officials. And the dam’s collapse has already created a significant humanitarian challenge into which the Ukrainian government will need to address and funnel resources.

“Anything that may have been planned downstream from the dam probably has to be replanned,” a European ambassador in Washington said. “Ultimately, the water levels will recede, but most likely, the catastrophic flooding has impacted the bridges and roads in the area, so they may not be usable in the way as planned before.”

The US and the Western intelligence community are still examining who is responsible for the dam’s destruction, but officials are leaning toward Russia as the culprit, the official said.

Read more here.

10:10 p.m. ET, June 6, 2023

US received intel that Ukraine was planning attack on Nord Stream pipelines, officials say

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand, Alex Marquardt and Haley Britzky

The US received intelligence from a European ally last year that the Ukrainian military was planning an attack on the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines three months before they were hit, three US officials told CNN.

The attack on the pipelines last September has been condemned by US officials and Western allies alike as a sabotage on critical infrastructure. It is currently being investigated by other European nations.

The intelligence assessment was first disclosed by The Washington Post, which obtained the document from a trove of classified documents allegedly leaked on the social media platform Discord by Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira.

CNN has not seen the document but the three officials confirmed the US was told about the Ukrainian plans.

According to the Washington Post, the intelligence cited a source in Ukraine which said Western allies “had a basis to suspect Kyiv in the sabotage” for almost a year. The intelligence said that those who may have been responsible were reporting directly to Ukraine’s commander in chief, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, “who was put in charge so that Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, wouldn’t know about the operation,” the Post reported.

But, the intelligence also said that Ukraine’s military operation was “put on hold.”

CNN has reached out to the Ukrainian government for comment.

White House National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby declined to address the reporting directly on Tuesday.

“I think you know there are three countries conducting an investigation of the Nord Stream sabotage — and we called it sabotage at the moment — Germany, Sweden, and Denmark. Those investigations are ongoing and again the last thing that we’re going to want to do from this podium is get ahead of those investigations,” Kirby said.

Read more here.