June 10, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

By Amarachi Orie, Adrienne Vogt, Tori B. Powell and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 6:03 p.m. ET, June 10, 2023
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9:38 a.m. ET, June 10, 2023

5 dead and over 2,600 rescued from flooding in Ukrainian-controlled areas of Kherson, officials say

From CNN’s Kostan Nechyporenko in Kyiv and Sugam Pokharel in London

Volunteers help evacuate residents from flooded areas in Kherson, Ukraine, on June 9.
Volunteers help evacuate residents from flooded areas in Kherson, Ukraine, on June 9. Roman Pilipey/Getty Images

Five people have died and more than 2,600 people — including 160 children — have been evacuated from Ukrainian-controlled flooded areas after the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam, according to Ukraine’s Internal Affairs Ministry.

"We are trying to continue evacuation activities, but the enemy is mercilessly shelling," Internal Affairs Minister Ihor Klymenko said on Saturday. 

In the hardest-hit southern Kherson region, a total of 2,588 people have been rescued from Ukrainian-controlled areas, head of Kherson region military administration Oleksandr Prokudin said earlier on Saturday.

Water levels are receding, dropping 31 centimeters (12.2 inches) since Friday evening, according to Prokudin.

In the Kherson region, 47 settlements were flooded, while in the Mykolaiv region, 31 settlements were flooded, the minister said. In the Dnipropetrovsk region, more than 89,000 customers in 26 settlements have no drinking water supply, Klymenko added.

Environmental concerns: The water level at the Nova Kakhovka reservoir “continues to decline,” Ukrainian Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Ruslan Strilets said on Saturday. 

“As of the morning of June 10, 62% of its volume, or 12.24 cubic kilometers of water, has leaked out of the Kakhovka reservoir,” he said. 

He said the water level in Kherson region’s national parks is “critical” and that 30% of the nature reserve and wildlife sanctuaries in the region is “under the threat of extinction.”

Ukraine’s main hydropower generating company Ukrhydroenergo said in a statement Saturday that the water level dropped by 24 centimeters (more than 9 inches) in four hours.

Nuclear plant: The water level in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant’s cooling pool is “stable,” Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear power company Energoatom said on Saturday.

The plant sits in Russian-occupied territory along the Dnipro River. 

8:58 a.m. ET, June 10, 2023

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau meets with Ukraine's Zelensky in unannounced visit to Kyiv

From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko, Vasco Cotovio and Sugam Pokharel

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, June 10.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, June 10. Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press/AP

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky during an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Saturday. 

“I welcome Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and representatives of his team to Ukraine,” Zelensky said in a post on Telegram

The two leaders issued a joint declaration after the meeting, which said:

“The people of Ukraine can count on Canada to continue its political, financial, humanitarian and military support for as long as it takes – individually and through international cooperation within the G7, NATO, the United Nations and any other forum where Canada can bring its weight to bear.”

Since February 2022, Canada has committed over $8 billion in "wide-ranging" assistance to Ukraine, it said. 

“Canada is providing unprecedented military support, including tanks, air-defence systems and artillery, and continues to develop new assistance measures based on Ukraine’s needs,” according to the joint declaration. 

Trudeau visits an exhibition of destroyed vehicles in Kyiv on Saturday.
Trudeau visits an exhibition of destroyed vehicles in Kyiv on Saturday. Valentyn Ogirenko/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

8:45 a.m. ET, June 10, 2023

Russian strikes kill 3 and injure 26 in Odesa, according to Ukrainian officials

From CNN’s Kostan Nechyporenko

Russia attacked the Odesa region in southern Ukraine in the early hours of Saturday with missiles and drones, according to the Odesa region military administration.

“At night, the enemy attacked Odesa region with Shahed-136/131 attack UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). Air defense forces destroyed all the UAVs. The wreckage of one of the drones hit a 9-storey apartment, causing a fire,” the Odesa region military administration said.

Three people were killed and 26 others, including three children, were injured, according to the Odesa region military administration, adding that three remain in serious condition. 

In addition, the coast of the Odesa region was hit by a missile attack in the early hours of Saturday, the Southern Command’s spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk said, speaking on national TV Saturday.

“Two missiles were destroyed, and one hit (the target). As a result of the flying fragments and blast wave, residential buildings were damaged, and 3 people were injured,” Humeniuk said. 

Russia also attacked the Poltava region with drones and ballistic and cruise missiles, causing “damage to the airfield infrastructure and equipment” at the Myrhorod military airfield, said Dmytro Lunin, head of Poltava region military administration.

9:06 a.m. ET, June 10, 2023

Russian-installed official accuses Ukraine of shelling holiday resorts in Russian-occupied Kherson

From CNN’s Niamh Kennedy in London and Kostan Nechyporenko and Denis Lapin in Kyiv 

Vladimir Saldo attends a meeting in Moscow in 2022.
Vladimir Saldo attends a meeting in Moscow in 2022. Contributor/Getty Images

A Russian-installed official in the occupied Kherson region has accused Ukraine of shelling holiday resorts along the south coast. 

In a post on his official Telegram page, Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-backed head of the Kherson regional administration, accused Ukraine of striking “temporary accommodation sites on the Arabit Spit” since Saturday morning local time. 

Saldo accompanied the post with a photo of a yellow building on fire, which CNN has geolocated to be the Chalet Thermal, a coastal resort on the shore of the Sea of Azov. 

According to Saldo, Ukraine also shelled the village of Zalizny. He posted a picture of the “destroyed” Positive Hotel which CNN has also geolocated. 

Saldo accused Ukraine of “targeting Kherson’s top officials." Saldo said one woman has been killed by the shelling. CNN has not independently confirmed this claim. 

Ivan Fedorov, the Ukrainian mayor of the city of Melitopol, also posted a video of the Chalet Thermal on fire on his Telegram account, claiming that Russian officials have fled the area following the shelling. 

“For some reason, the invaders did not like the company, so now convoys of cars with Russians and local collaborators are urgently leaving for the still-occupied Crimea,” Fedorov remarked. 

9:07 a.m. ET, June 10, 2023

UK government pledges 150 million pounds to help Ukrainian refugees into their own homes

From CNN's Sophie Tanno

The UK Government has pledged 150 million pounds ($188 million) to help Ukrainian refugees rent their own homes.

The new funding will go to local councils to help Ukrainian families rent private accommodation and find work, a UK government press statement released Saturday said.

“The UK has an honourable tradition of offering shelter to those fleeing the horrors of war,” UK Housing Minister Felicity Buchan said.
“Sadly, the fighting in Ukraine shows no sign of ending soon, so we are appealing for more people to become hosts while providing councils with this additional funding to support guests into long-term housing.”

The Homes for Ukraine program saw Ukrainians find a “sponsor” in the UK through friends, charities or even social media, and jointly apply for a visa.

However, issues have arisen for some refugees once they arrived on British soil. The British Red Cross charity warned in March that many Ukrainians are staying in “inappropriate” accommodation.

In June last year, CNN spoke to half a dozen newly-arrived refugees who became homeless in the UK after their relationships with British hosts deteriorated.

The bigger picture: Over 124,000 people fleeing war in Ukraine have found refuge in the UK since the start of Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

Others fled to neighboring countries, including Russia.

Poland has seen the largest influx of refugees since the start of the war, with data from Statista showing 1.6 million Ukrainians had fled to Poland as of May 9.

As of April 2023, over one million refugees from Ukraine were recorded in Germany.

9:10 a.m. ET, June 10, 2023

Putin claims Ukraine's counteroffensive has begun, but without success  

From CNN's Uliana Pavlova and Andrew Carey

President Vladimir Putin is seen in July 2022, at the Navy Day Parade in Saint Petersburg.
President Vladimir Putin is seen in July 2022, at the Navy Day Parade in Saint Petersburg. Stringer/Getty Images/FILE

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed on Friday that the Ukrainian counteroffensive had begun, but without success.

"It can be stated with absolute certainty that the counteroffensive has begun,” Putin said on the sidelines of a conference in Sochi on Friday. He claimed this is “evidenced by the use of strategic reserves.”

“It can be stated that all counteroffensive attempts made so far have failed. But the offensive potential of the Kyiv troops regime still remains,” Putin said in video shared on Telegram.

"The Ukrainian troops have not achieved the tasks assigned to them in any of the main sectors. This is an absolutely obvious thing," he added. Putin also said that the last two days have been “very intense.”

The Russian leader’s comments are the latest in a series of upbeat Russian characterizations of events along the front line between Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk, where Ukrainian forces have stepped up activities since the start of the week. 

Not all Russian reports emerging from the battlefields of Zaporizhzhia region are positive, however.

On Friday morning, Semyon Pegov, who is among the most widely read of Russia’s "military bloggers," reported that Ukraine’s armed forces had made gains south of Orikhiv towards the town of Tokmak in Russian-held territory.

The Ukrainian view: Ukrainian officials have not described their activities as a counteroffensive. Earlier in the week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described “very tough battles.”

CNN cannot independently verify claims from either side about fighting on the ground, but a Ukrainian commander rejected the suggestion Ukraine had begun its big attempt to recapture territory.

Instead, the commander characterized the pushes as “reconnaissance in force” – operations designed to probe the enemy’s defenses for weak spots and to test its combat readiness.

6:12 a.m. ET, June 10, 2023

Irrigation issues for southern Ukraine’s agriculture could last for years after dam collapse, minister says

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva

A view shows a flooded area after the Nova Kakhovka dam breached in Kherson on Thursday.
A view shows a flooded area after the Nova Kakhovka dam breached in Kherson on Thursday. Yan Dobronosov/Reuters

Following the collapse of Ukraine’s Nova Kakhovka dam earlier this week, irrigation will become one of the largest problems for agriculture in southern Ukraine, according to a government minister.

The Kakhovka Canal provided water to more than half a million hectares (over 1.2 million acres) of land, Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Mykola Solskyi said.

“Land that did not have irrigation systems will also suffer, as farmers will no longer have anything to farm. They received their main and stable income from the harvests from fields that had irrigation systems,” he said in a statement on Friday.

The minister said that without irrigation, up to 1.5 million hectares (over 3.7 million acres) of land will not be fully utilized, and it could take up to seven years to restore irrigation.

“The Kakhovka Reservoir was the source of two irrigation and water supply systems: the Kakhovka System and the North Crimean Canal. These systems were built taking into account water levels to minimize the use of electricity for pumps. Now the water level has dropped, so water simply does not reach the systems. To raise it, we need to rebuild the dam. So this is a problem for many years,” he added.

At a media briefing on Friday, Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Agrarian Council Denys Marchuk said Ukraine could see a loss of more than $1.5 billion in grain and oilseeds alone because of the destruction.

The dairy sector could face severe impacts, Marchuk said, also adding there would be issues growing vegetables as they require a sufficient amount of water.

“Since the occupation, we have already lost a large supply of products from Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. When we get these territories back, it will be very difficult to return to growing this crop. In fact, farmers say that if a new hydroelectric power plant is not built and there is no place to take water from, they will not continue this business,” he said.

6:12 a.m. ET, June 10, 2023

UN delegation visits areas of Ukrainian-controlled Kherson region to provide flood assistance

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva, Richard Roth and Amy Cassidy

A man moors a boat at a flooded street during an evacuation in Kherson on Friday.
A man moors a boat at a flooded street during an evacuation in Kherson on Friday. Vladyslav Musiienko/Reuters

A United Nations convoy met with Ukrainian authorities in Kherson to discuss the provision of further humanitarian assistance, officials said Friday, as the southern region reels from devastating floods caused by the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam earlier this week.

“Drinking water, food packages, materials for housing repairs and medicines are being sent to the Bilozerka community and Kherson city,” the Kherson region military administration posted on Telegram.

“The delegation met with Oleksandr Prokudin, Head of the Kherson Regional Military Administration, and representatives of the military administration,” the post continued. “They discussed the needs of the region and the next aid deliveries.”

Speaking in Bilozerka, on the Ukrainian-controlled west bank of the Dnipro River and one of the worst-affected areas, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine Denise Brown warned the number of people suffering will continue to rise past the initial estimates of 17,000 in Ukrainian-controlled areas alone, according to a UN news release.

“The disaster has also impacted people in areas under Russian control, but the UN currently has no access to this part of the country,” the release added. 

9:13 a.m. ET, June 10, 2023

Zelensky says there are “a lot of problems” as rescue operation continues after dam collapse 

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva in Kyiv

President Zelensky delivers his nightly address on Friday.
President Zelensky delivers his nightly address on Friday. The Presidential Office of Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday “there are a lot of problems” as rescue operations in the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions continue following the collapse of a major dam.

"We are working to overcome them at all possible levels,” Zelensky added in his nightly address. He did not elaborate on the issues.

Amid reports of intensified fighting in the south of the country, Zelensky said, “for our soldiers, for all those who are in particularly tough battles these days, we see your heroism, and we are grateful to you for every minute of your life.”

The president also thanked the United States for a new security assistance package of support worth more than $2 billion. He said the package will ensure “missiles for the Patriots and other air defense systems, strengthening our defense on the ground, strengthening the strength of all our soldiers.”

Some background: Tuesday's collapse of the Nova Kakhovka is one of Europe's biggest industrial and ecological disasters in decades.

The Kakhovka Canal provided water to more than half a million hectares (over 1.2 million acres) of land, and it could take up to seven years to restore irrigation, according to Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Mykola Solskyi.

It is not known whether the collapse was caused by a deliberate attack or a structural failure, but United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres described the destruction as “another devastating consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”