Volodymyr Zelenskyy visiting liberated Izyum in a road accident; Russia attacks dam to flood city

A car carrying Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy collided with another vehicle after visiting Izyum and no major injuries were reported, a spokesman for the leader said in a social media post.

Doctors accompanying the president examined him, no serious injuries were found,” Serhiy Nykyforov, a spokesman for Zelenskyy, said in a post on Facebook.

A passenger car collided with a vehicle transporting the president as his motorcade was returning to Kyiv from the Kharkiv region, Nykyforov wrote, without specifying what kind of injuries the president may have sustained. He added that the collision is being investigated.

The driver of the other vehicle was taken away by ambulance.

“Doctors accompanying the head of state rendered emergency assistance to the driver of the car and transferred him to the ambulance,” wrote Nykyforov.

Zelenskyi returned from Izyum, the largest city recaptured in a counter-offensive in the north-east of the country last week. The development was his country’s most significant battlefield victory in months.

It came as Russian troops targeted critical infrastructure in the president’s hometown.

Eight cruise missiles hit water equipment in Kryvyi Rih, a town on the Inhulets River 93 miles southwest of Dnipro, according to Deputy Head of the President’s Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko on his Telegram channel.

Mr Zelensky said the strikes appeared to be an attempt to flood the city and a dam on a reservoir had been hit.

Zelenskyy said towns and villages retaken from Russian forces were devastated, while a major city struggled to contain damage to its water system from rocket attacks by Kremlin forces.

Kryvyi Rih, the largest city in central Ukraine with an estimated pre-war population of 650,000, was attacked by eight cruise missiles on Wednesday, officials said.

“The water pumping station was destroyed. The river has breached the dam and burst its banks. Residential buildings are just a few meters from the river,” Ukrainian lawmaker Inna Sovsun said on Twitter.

The rocket attacks hit the Karachunov reservoir, Zelensky said in a video address released early Thursday. The water system has “no military value” and hundreds of thousands of civilians depend on it every day, he said.

Russian forces suffered a stunning setback this month after Ukrainian troops mounted a rapid tank push in the Kharkiv region and forced a hasty Russian retreat.

Zelenskyy made a surprise visit to Izyum on Wednesday – until four days ago Russia’s main bastion and logistics center in the region – where he watched as the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag was raised in front of the charred City Council building.

“Our law enforcement agencies are already receiving evidence of the murder, torture and kidnapping of people by the occupying forces,” Zelenskyy said in his speech.

“They only destroyed, only confiscated, only deported. They left devastated villages and in some of them there is not a single surviving house,” he added.

Russia denies targeting civilians.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will discuss Ukraine and Taiwan, which the Kremlin says will have “special importance” at a meeting in Uzbekistan on Thursday.

In the run-up to the meeting, the two countries’ navies conducted joint tactical maneuvers and drills with artillery and helicopters in the Pacific Ocean.

Moscow and Beijing earlier this year declared a “No Limits” partnership, backing each other through standoffs in Ukraine and Taiwan with promises of greater cooperation against the West.

Also on the diplomatic front, the UN General Assembly on Friday will consider a proposal for Zelensky to speak with pre-recorded video at the annual meeting of world leaders next week. Russia is opposed to Zelenskyy speaking.

Aside from Ukraine, Russian authorities are facing challenges in other former Soviet states, with deadly fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia and clashes between border guards between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Western politicians and military officials said it was too early to say whether Ukraine’s recent success marks a turning point because Russia has yet to fully respond.

“We should avoid euphoria. There is still a lot to be done to liberate our country and Russia has a large number of weapons,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, said in an online post.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a Twitter post after the attacks on Kryvyi Rih: “Russia is a terrorist state and must be recognized as such”.

With that in mind, US Senators from both Democratic and Republican parties introduced legislation that would designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. The measure is opposed by President Joe Biden’s administration.

Back in Izyum, smashed windows, pockmarked facades, and burned walls lined a battle-torn main street of abandoned meat shops and pharmacies and wrecked beauty parlors. An abandoned handwritten sign on a door read “People Live Here”.

Liubov Sinna, 74, who had a pink hood wrapped around her face, said residents of Izyum were still afraid.

“Because we have lived this whole half year. We ate it in basements. We’ve been through everything you can go through. We absolutely cannot say that we feel safe,” she said.

She said the city stands at the “gates of Donbass,” the eastern region that Putin has identified as a key war objective to conquer in full.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz, on the phone with Putin this week, said the Russian president “unfortunately” still doesn’t think his invasion was a mistake.

Putin says he wants to ensure Russian security and protect Russian speakers in Ukraine. Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of an unprovoked war of aggression.

In a move that suggests Putin had broader war aims when he ordered troops into Ukraine on February 24, three people close to the Russian leadership told journalists that Putin had rejected an interim deal with Kyiv around the start of the war.

They said the deal met Russia’s demand that Ukraine stay out of the US-led Western military alliance, NATO. The Kremlin said the Reuters report had “absolutely no relation to reality”. It also said that Ukraine’s ambitions to join NATO still pose a threat to Russia.

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/volodymyr-zelensky-in-road-collision-during-visit-to-liberated-izyum-russia-attacks-dam-in-attempt-to-flood-city-41990766.html Volodymyr Zelenskyy visiting liberated Izyum in a road accident; Russia attacks dam to flood city

Fry Electronics Team

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