Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Russian forces were "in active defense," in Zaporizhzhia and that Ukrainian forces were advancing along the flanks of Bakhmut. File Photo by Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA-EFE
June 9 (UPI) -- Ukrainian and Russian forces clashed on the southern and eastern fronts as fallout from the collapse of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam continues.
While the Ukrainian military is staying tight-lipped on their anticipated counteroffensive, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Russian forces were "in active defense," in Zaporizhzhia and that Ukrainian forces were advancing along the flanks of Bakhmut.
A Russian-installed local political leader, Vladimir Rogov, reported "active fighting" in the direction of Tokmak, a town that is seen as critical to Ukrainian attempts to reclaim the nation's southern regions.
"Overnight the Russian Federation carried out another missile and air strike on Ukraine. Detailed information will be made public later. In the past 24 hours, the enemy carried out seven missile strikes, two of them hitting the peaceful city of Uman, as well as 43 airstrikes and 79 MLRS attacks on the positions of our troops and populated areas. There are casualties among civilians," The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine wrote on Facebook Friday morning.
The General staff said Russian forces have been looting civilian property and filming propaganda videos intended to misrepresent the situation on the ground, the General Staff said. It also claimed the Ukrainian military killed 56 Russian troops in a strike on a training camp.
"The adversary continues to focus its main efforts on Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Mar'inka axes, heavy fighting continues. During the day of June 8, 43x combat engagements took place in the above-mentioned areas of the frontline," the General Staff said.
Additionally, the General Staff reports that "the enemy remains on the defensive" on the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson axes while Ukrainian forces "launched 19x air strikes on concentrations of troops and 2x air strikes on the anti-aircraft missile systems of the adversary." Five Russian command centers and eight artillery pieces were also reportedly hit.
Russian airstrikes were reported in Sumy Oblast, in Donetsk region, in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, and in Kherson Oblast.
The collapse of the Kakhovka Dam in Kherson Oblast Tuesday flooded villages and towns on the banks of the Dnieper river, causing mass displacement and endangering the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power plant, which relies on cooling water from the dam's reservoir.
The Ukrainian and Russian governments have blamed each other for the dam's destruction. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the collapse was "another devastating consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine."
Guterres said the U.N. was "rushing support in coordination with the Government of Ukraine -- including drinking water and water purification tablets and other critical assistance."
Ukrainian officials say the Russian occupation government in Crimea is withholding information about the Kharkhova Dam's collapse from the general public.
"In the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Simferopol, in particular), there is a certain trend in local media. They ignore the fact of the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station dam by the Russian occupiers and the aftermath of this disaster," the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said.
"The local occupation authorities are reported to be concerned about possible panic among the public," The General Staff continued.