The Russian Defense Ministry has claimed that its forces have destroyed numerous US-made armoured vehicles in the Zaporizhzhia region. A video released by the Russian Defense Ministry shows several tanks engulfed in smoke. These tanks had reportedly been stationed in the area for several months. Furthermore, Russian troops have confirmed the presence of German Leopard tanks at various frontline locations.
Earlier this week, Moscow alleged that Ukrainian forces were intensifying their efforts to break through Russian defensive lines in southeastern Ukraine for the second day in a row. Ukrainian authorities dismissed these reports of attacks as Russian attempts at misleading communication, saying they were preparing for an anticipated counter-offensive after more than 15 months of conflict.
Clashes began on Monday on the border with the eastern Donetsk area, said Vladimir Rogov, an official in the Russian-backed administration of the partially occupied province of Zaporizhzhia. The day before, Russian forces had repelled a Ukrainian offensive.
Rogov confirmed an ongoing battle, noting that the enemy had released an even larger force compared to the day before. He described the current offensive as more extensive and organized. Rogov interpreted the actions of the Ukrainian army as an attempt to reach the shores of the Azov Sea and cut off access to the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.
Reservoir’s low water endangers Zaporizhzhia
On February 15, 2023, National Public Radio (NPR) reported that workers at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has been under Russian occupation since March, face the added concern of possible water shortages.
The Russian military is believed to be draining the Kakhovka reservoir, a critical water source for the plant’s cooling systems. This depletion has caused the water level in the reservoir to plummet to its lowest point in thirty years, as indicated by satellite data.
Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear operator, issued a statement warning that the current water level of 13.8 meters is below the normal level of 16 meters, and that further reductions could pose a significant problem for plant operations. Energoatom president Petro Kotin stressed that if the water level drops to 12.8 meters, it would be considered an emergency, and if it reaches 12 meters, the situation would be critical.
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