Russia-Ukraine war live updates: flooding in Kryvyi Rih after missiles hit dam at Zelenskiy’s home town | Ukraine

Summary and welcome

Good morning and welcome back to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine. At 7.30am in Kyiv, these are the latest developments.

  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was involved in a traffic accident in Kyiv, but he is not seriously hurt, his spokesperson said in a Facebook post early on Thursday. Serhii Nykyforov, who did not say when the accident occurred, said Zelenskiy’s car had collided with a private vehicle. “The president was examined by a doctor, no serious injuries were found,” he said, adding the accident would be investigated. Medics accompanying Zelenskiy gave the driver of the private car emergency aid and put him in an ambulance, he said.

  • Eight Russian missiles that struck Kryvyi Rih on Wednesday were directed at hydraulic structures, causing enough damage that the water level of the Inhulets RInhulets riveriver was rising and posing a serious threat to the city. This aligns with Ukraine’s concerns that Russia will continue to target Ukraine’s infrastructure in retribution for its success in regaining occupied territory. Kryvyi Rih is Zelenskiy’s home town.

  • In his nightly televised address, video of which was posted shortly after the accident, Zelenskiy said he had just returned from the area around Kharkiv, adding that “almost the entire region is de-occupied” after a lightning counteroffensive to dislodge Russian troops. “It was an unprecedented movement of our soldiers – the Ukrainians once again managed to do what many thought was impossible,” he said. After visiting the liberated city of Izium, Zelenskiy said Ukraine’s troops had recaptured around 8,000 sq km (3,100 square miles) of territory.

  • Ukraine’s defence ministry found what its officials believe to be a “torture chamber” used by Russian troops to hold Ukrainian prisoners in the city of Balakliia. While some Balakliia residents told the Guardian that they had little interaction with the Russian forces, who mostly stayed on edges of the town, and did not experience the scenes of torture and execution seen elsewhere in the country, Serhiy Bolvinov, head of the Kharkiv region national police investigation department, said that 40 people had been detained during the occupation. One resident told the BBC that he was held by Russians in the city’s police station for more than 40 days and was tortured with electrocution.

  • Germany has delivered four more Gepard anti-aircraft guns and 65 refrigerators to Ukraine, the German government announced on Wednesday. The four additional units bring the total number of Gepard units provided by Germany to Ukraine to 24.

  • Kremlin sources “are now working to clear [Russia’s President Vladimir] Putin of any responsibly of the defeat, instead blaming the loss of almost all of occupied Kharkiv oblast on under-informed military advisers”, according to the Institute of the Study of War. In a statement reported by CNBC, the institute said that “Kremlin officials and state media propagandists are extensively discussing the reasons for the Russian defeat in Kharkiv oblast, a marked change from their previous pattern of reporting on exaggerated or fabricated Russian successes with limited detail”.

  • The prospects for peace in Ukraine are currently “minimal”, the UN secretary general said on Wednesday after a phone conversation with Vladimir Putin. “I have the feeling we are still far away from peace. I would be lying if I would say it could happen soon,” Guterres said, adding: “I have no illusion; at the present moment the chances of a peace deal are minimal.” Even a ceasefire was “not in sight”, he said.

  • Putin still believes he was right to launch an invasion of Ukraine, the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said on Wednesday after a 90-minute telephone call with the Russian president. “Sadly, I cannot tell you that the impression has grown that it was a mistake to begin this war,” Scholz said in a press briefing.

  • Russian troops have returned to Kreminna, a city in the Russian-occupied Luhansk region that was “completely empty” yesterday, said Serhiy Hadai, the region’s governor, and tore down the Ukrainian flags that local partisans had raised in celebration. Yesterday, a similar situation happened in Svatove – Russian troops left but returned after some time, Hadai said. Russian troops also left Starobilsk, another city in the Luhansk region.

Key events

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, says Ursula von der Leyen will visit Kyiv on Thursday. In his nightly address on Wednesday, Zelenskiy said the European Commission president would visit as Ukraine continues its bid for full EU membership, and comes a day after a representative from Kyiv attended a full meeting of the European parliament.

Damaged tank in a field
Tank carcasses with Russia’s signature Z symbol are dotted throughout Izium in the wake of the retreat. Photograph: Alessio Mamo/The Guardian

The rout of the Russian army in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region seems likely to be a turning point in Kyiv’s battle to kick Russian troops out of the country, but it may also cause much broader fallout for Moscow, as other former Soviet countries witness what appears to be the limits of Moscow’s capabilities.

The Guardian’s eastern Europe correspondent, Shaun Walker, has analysed what Moscow’s setbacks could mean for the wider region. You can read that report here:

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin has arrived in the Uzbek city of Samarkand in preparation for his meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, Reuters reports.

Putin and Xi will meet early on Thursday afternoon, a schedule distributed by the Russian delegation to media showed. The two leaders are in Uzbekistan to attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a regional security group. They will also hold a three-way meeting with Mongolia’s president, Ukhnaa Khurelsukh, on Thursday.

As the leaders prepared to meet, China and Russia have held joint naval exercises in the Pacific. The navies of the two countries conducted tactical manoeuvres and exercises involving artillery and helicopters, Reuters reported.

As Moscow’s forces pull back from the Kharkiv region, our Russia correspondent, Andrew Roth, reports that some of its supporters are in shock as the Kremlin reneges on a vow that helped project power into captured towns and villages.

Just weeks ago, Irina was working in the Russian occupation administration in Kupiansk, a large town in northern Ukraine that had been captured days after Vladimir Putin launched his war against the country.

But then, as Russian troops fled the city and the Ukrainian army retook occupied territories in the country’s north, she and her family fled what they expected would be swift punishment for collaborating with the Russian invasion force.

You can read the full story here:

Kryvyi Rih flood threat after missiles hit water system

The major city of Kryvyi Rih is struggling to contain damage to its water system from Russian missile attacks. The largest city in central Ukraine, with an estimated pre-war population of 650,000, was targeted by eight cruise missiles on Wednesday, officials said.

A report from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said footage of the aftermath of the attack showed a 2.5 metre rise in the level of the Inhulets River in Kryvyi Rih.

“The water pumping station was destroyed. The river broke through the dam and overflowed its banks. Residential buildings are just a few meters away from the river,” Ukrainian legislator Inna Sovsun said on Twitter.

The missile strikes hit the Karachunov reservoir dam, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said in a video address released early on Thursday. The water system had no military value and hundreds of thousands of civilians depend on it daily, he said.

The ISW report said the attacks may have been intended to damage Ukrainian pontoon bridges further downstream as part of efforts to disrupt the Kherson counteroffensive, it said.

Water flows through a hole in a dam
Damage to the hydraulic structure in Kryvyi Rih. Photograph: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Reuters

Summary and welcome

Good morning and welcome back to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine. At 7.30am in Kyiv, these are the latest developments.

  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was involved in a traffic accident in Kyiv, but he is not seriously hurt, his spokesperson said in a Facebook post early on Thursday. Serhii Nykyforov, who did not say when the accident occurred, said Zelenskiy’s car had collided with a private vehicle. “The president was examined by a doctor, no serious injuries were found,” he said, adding the accident would be investigated. Medics accompanying Zelenskiy gave the driver of the private car emergency aid and put him in an ambulance, he said.

  • Eight Russian missiles that struck Kryvyi Rih on Wednesday were directed at hydraulic structures, causing enough damage that the water level of the Inhulets RInhulets riveriver was rising and posing a serious threat to the city. This aligns with Ukraine’s concerns that Russia will continue to target Ukraine’s infrastructure in retribution for its success in regaining occupied territory. Kryvyi Rih is Zelenskiy’s home town.

  • In his nightly televised address, video of which was posted shortly after the accident, Zelenskiy said he had just returned from the area around Kharkiv, adding that “almost the entire region is de-occupied” after a lightning counteroffensive to dislodge Russian troops. “It was an unprecedented movement of our soldiers – the Ukrainians once again managed to do what many thought was impossible,” he said. After visiting the liberated city of Izium, Zelenskiy said Ukraine’s troops had recaptured around 8,000 sq km (3,100 square miles) of territory.

  • Ukraine’s defence ministry found what its officials believe to be a “torture chamber” used by Russian troops to hold Ukrainian prisoners in the city of Balakliia. While some Balakliia residents told the Guardian that they had little interaction with the Russian forces, who mostly stayed on edges of the town, and did not experience the scenes of torture and execution seen elsewhere in the country, Serhiy Bolvinov, head of the Kharkiv region national police investigation department, said that 40 people had been detained during the occupation. One resident told the BBC that he was held by Russians in the city’s police station for more than 40 days and was tortured with electrocution.

  • Germany has delivered four more Gepard anti-aircraft guns and 65 refrigerators to Ukraine, the German government announced on Wednesday. The four additional units bring the total number of Gepard units provided by Germany to Ukraine to 24.

  • Kremlin sources “are now working to clear [Russia’s President Vladimir] Putin of any responsibly of the defeat, instead blaming the loss of almost all of occupied Kharkiv oblast on under-informed military advisers”, according to the Institute of the Study of War. In a statement reported by CNBC, the institute said that “Kremlin officials and state media propagandists are extensively discussing the reasons for the Russian defeat in Kharkiv oblast, a marked change from their previous pattern of reporting on exaggerated or fabricated Russian successes with limited detail”.

  • The prospects for peace in Ukraine are currently “minimal”, the UN secretary general said on Wednesday after a phone conversation with Vladimir Putin. “I have the feeling we are still far away from peace. I would be lying if I would say it could happen soon,” Guterres said, adding: “I have no illusion; at the present moment the chances of a peace deal are minimal.” Even a ceasefire was “not in sight”, he said.

  • Putin still believes he was right to launch an invasion of Ukraine, the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said on Wednesday after a 90-minute telephone call with the Russian president. “Sadly, I cannot tell you that the impression has grown that it was a mistake to begin this war,” Scholz said in a press briefing.

  • Russian troops have returned to Kreminna, a city in the Russian-occupied Luhansk region that was “completely empty” yesterday, said Serhiy Hadai, the region’s governor, and tore down the Ukrainian flags that local partisans had raised in celebration. Yesterday, a similar situation happened in Svatove – Russian troops left but returned after some time, Hadai said. Russian troops also left Starobilsk, another city in the Luhansk region.

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