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Ukraine steps up attacks in eastern Ukraine, likely launching its counteroffensive

Nov 13, 2023Nov 13, 2023

Ukraine has started intensifying attacks in the southeast, likely working a long-anticipated counteroffensive in efforts to take back control of areas Russian forces took at the beginning of the war.

In the Zaporizhzhia region, heavy fighting has increased, which includes "specialized attack units armed with Western weapons and trained in NATO tactics," The Washington Post reports.

The U.S. and Ukrainian officials who spoke about the counteroffensive requested anonymity in discussing the details of the plans, but have said it "would involve attacks on multiple locations, as Kyiv's forces push forward, looking for vulnerabilities in Russia's defensive lines," as explained by The New York Times.

According to the Post, "By cutting south through the flat fields of Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv's forces could aim to sever the ‘land bridge’ between mainland Russia and the occupied Crimean Peninsula, cutting off crucial Russian supply lines."

Meanwhile, Ukraine has requested more international assistance after the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant dam exploded on Tuesday, leaving the communities downriver in ecological disaster.

CNBC reported that at least five people have drowned in the flooding, and "30 settlements have been flooded in Ukrainian and Russian-occupied parts of the region, forcing thousands of people to flee or be rescued."

Both Russia and Ukraine blamed the other for the attack, but the U.S. State Department is still conducting an investigation and pointed out that they both have a lot to lose from the dam exploding.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the region "to evaluate the emergency response," and he "has urged allies to offer aid and assistance in evacuating people and providing essential supplies," per NBC News.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said rescue workers are working in challenging conditions, saying that Russian shelling continues, despite rescue efforts, per CNN.

Authorities in Russian-occupied and Ukrainian territory are still assessing the damage and consequences from the dam and resultant flooding.

"The consequences of the tragedy will be clear in a week. When the water goes away, it will become clear what is left and what will happen next," Zelenskyy said, per CNN.