Ukraine’s counter-offensive has already broken through the first Russian lines of defence in places, but its army has taken casualties, British military intelligence said on Saturday.
The Ministry of Defence said that the Ukrainian soldiers had met “mixed” resistance, with some Russian units holding their ground but others fleeing, with some forced to retreat through their own minefields.
“In some areas, Ukrainian forces have likely made good progress and penetrated the first line of Russian defences. In others, Ukrainian progress has been slower,” the MoD said.
Ukraine had warned that Russian air superiority would be a problem for its offensive and the MoD said that Russian fighter jets had been “unusually active” over front line battlefields.
The Ukrainian military’s main attacks have focused on the Zaporizhzhia region.
Strategists have said that if Ukrainian forces can recapture the town of Tokmak, around 10 miles to the south of the current front line, they will break Russian transport links between occupied parts of Donbas and Crimea.
Other Western analysts also said that Ukraine had struck Russian forces around Bakhmut in the Donbas region, which had been the focus of fighting.
“Ukrainian forces around Bakhmut have advanced almost one mile in 24 hours,” said Phillips O’Brien, professor of Strategic Studies at the University of St Andrews.
At a press conference in Kyiv with Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime pinister, Volodymyr Zelensky said: “Counter-offensive and defensive actions are taking place in Ukraine: at which stage I will not talk in detail.”
However, the Ukrainian President said that his military commanders were “in a positive mood”.
“It is important that Russia feels this, that they do not have long left in my opinion,” he said.
The Canadian leader said he would provide 500m Canadian dollars in new funding for military assistance to Ukraine.
He also pledged that Canada would be part of the multinational efforts to train Ukraine’s fighter pilots.
Ukraine’s military does not publish casualty figures, but images from the front lines appear to show that it has suffered losses.
“Mines, anti-tank guided missiles and first-person view drones disabling vehicles are going to be a massive problem for Ukraine, just as they have previously proven to be for Russia,” said Oliver Alexander, a defence analyst.
Russian officials and military bloggers have praised Russia’s defensive lines, although many hit an unusually downbeat, but still defiant, tone.
“We have to admit that the tactical advance of the Ukrainian military in this area is happening but it is not critical,” the WarGonzo Telegram channel said of fighting near the village of Velikaya Novoselovka on the western edge of the Donetsk region.
“We still firmly hold the high ground but the enemy has taken positions in the low land.”
To the west of the front line fighting, rescue workers were still trying to evacuate people from towns and villages flooded this week when a dam broke on the Dnipro River.
Ukraine has accused Russia of deliberately destroying the Nova Kakhovka dam to slow the Ukrainian advance.
Floodwater has receded, but the UN said that 700,000 people now urgently need access to drinking water.
Read all the developments from the day below.
Today's top stories
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that counteroffensive action was underway against Russian forces, while declining to give any details
The sea that meets Odessa has become “a cemetery for animals” as the blast at the Nova Kakhovka dam sparks what the UN has called an ecological catastrophe
The UK will donate an additional £16m to help Ukraine deal with the flooding caused by the Nova Kakhovka dam breach
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said that Iceland’s decision to suspend its embassy operations in Moscow “destroys” bilateral cooperation
Kyiv said on Saturday there had been heavy fighting in the eastern region of Donetsk the previous night, with three people killed in a fire sparked by falling debris from shot-down drones
Russia does 'not have long left, says Zelensky
Russia has reported thwarting Ukrainian attacks in the east and south, though President Zelensky implied the claims were incorrect.
“It’s interesting what Putin said about our counteroffensive. It is important that Russia always feels this: that they do not have long left, in my opinion,” Zelensky said.
He added that he was in daily touch with military commanders including armed forces chief Valery Zaluzhny and “everyone is positive now - tell that to Putin!”
Swedish hygiene company Essity divests Russian operations
Swedish hygiene products maker Essity said it was divesting its Russian operations and had already found a buyer.
“Essity has signed an agreement with a buyer and the transaction has now been approved by the Russian authorities,” the company said in a statement on Saturday.
The company added that they expected to finalise the transaction during the second quarter of 2023.
Russia still dissatisfied with Black Sea grain deal after UN talks
Russia is said to still not satisfied with how a Black Sea grain deal is being implemented, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said on Saturday after meeting senior UN trade officials a day earlier.
Russia has threatened to walk away from the grain deal on July 17 if demands to improve its own food and fertiliser exports are not met. The deal, struck in July last year, facilitates the “safe navigation” of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers - including ammonia - for export to global markets.
“We cannot be satisfied with how this memorandum is being implemented,” Vershinin was quoted as saying by the Tass news agency. “Barriers to our exports remain.”
Xi briefed on African peace mission to Ukraine, Russia
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has briefed Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping about an upcoming mission by African leaders to Russia and Ukraine to try and broker peace, Pretoria said on Saturday.
Mr Ramaphosa announced last month that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky had agreed to receive a six-member African delegation, expected to visit this month.
Mr Ramaphosa “has briefed” Xi, the South African presidency said in a statement. The delegation will group the presidents of the Republic of Congo, Egypt, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia.
Zelensky says counteroffensive actions 'taking place'
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that counteroffensive action was underway against Russian forces, while declining to give any details.
“Counteroffensive and defensive actions are taking place in Ukraine: at which stage I will not talk in detail,” Mr Zelensky said on Saturday.
A journalist asked Mr Zelensky to comment after Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Kyiv’s long-expected counteroffensive was already failing.
“It’s interesting what Putin said about our counteroffensive. It is important that Russia always feels this: that they do not have long left, in my opinion,” Mr Zelensky said.
Sea turning into a 'cemetery for animals'
The sea that meets Odessa has become “a cemetery for animals” as the blast at the Nova Kakhovka dam sparks what the UN has called an ecological catastrophe.
Some 300 zoo animals along with pets are reported to have been killed by the mass flooding unleashed by the dam’s explosion on Tuesday.
Houses, furniture, household appliances and cars are being washed into the sea, according to Ukraine’s state border guard, turning it into “a rubbish dump and a cemetery for animals”.
Russian losses to date, according to Ukraine
"We don't even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward."
Total combat losses of the enemy from February 24, 2022 to June 10, 2023: pic.twitter.com/F6dCcM7XLG
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) June 10, 2023
UK donates additional 16 million to help with aftermath of dam destruction
The UK will donate an additional £16m to help Ukraine deal with the flooding caused by the Nova Kakhovka dam breach.
The foreign secretary, James Cleverly, said the UK is leading the way in providing support to those desperately in need after an explosion at the dam on Tuesday.
“Flooding from the destruction of Kakhovka dam is having an untold impact on over 32,000 people living in Kherson, and thousands more in the surrounding area,” said James Cleverly, the foreign secretary.
The country has so far contributed £220 million to help civilians affected by the flooding, including medicines to combat waterborne infectious diseases.
How Ukraine finally launched its counter-offensive – and whether it will succeed
Over the last two months, the Ukrainians have been conducting preparatory shaping operations, writes Mike Martin.
These are designed to soften the enemy, confuse them as to your intentions, and gather intelligence about their strengths and weaknesses. In other words, to shape the enemy to your liking so that they are easier to defeat once you finally attack them.
Most strikingly, the Russian Freedom Legion – a Ukrainian armed and supported paramilitary group comprised of Russian citizens – have made bold and daring incursions into the Russian territories of Belgorod and Kursk. Judging by the lack of Russian defensive troops along their own border, these were clearly considered safe by the Kremlin. Not anymore. And as a result, the Russians now have to contend with a front line that is twice as long, further stretching their already stretched troops.
This week the Ukrainians moved on from shaping operations. They are now in to phase one of their counter-offensive. And rather than using the whole of their force and all of the western donated equipment – some nine armoured brigades and a supporting infantry force – they have opted for multiple mini-offensives with much smaller teams.
Russia says Iceland 'destroys' ties by suspending embassy operations
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said that Iceland’s decision to suspend its embassy operations in Moscow “destroys” bilateral cooperation.
Iceland said on Friday the operations would be suspended from August 1 due to an “all-time low” level of commercial, cultural and political relations between the countries, adding that it had asked Russia to scale back its diplomatic activities in Reykjavik.
“The decision taken by the Icelandic authorities to lower the level of diplomatic relations with Russia destroys the entire range of Russian-Icelandic cooperation,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
Ukraine's counteroffensive mapped by ISW
NEW: Ukrainian forces continued #counteroffensive operations in at least four areas of the front on June 9, making further gains around #Bakhmut and in Western #Donetsk.
Latest on #Russia's invasion of #Ukraine w/ @criticalthreats: https://t.co/ilySwoUjWw pic.twitter.com/3JC2yP98E5
— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) June 10, 2023
Trudeau makes surprise visit to Kyiv
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Saturday, his second trip to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February last year.
Mr Trudeau paid his respects at a memorial site in central Kyiv to Ukrainian soldiers who have been killed fighting pro-Russian forces since 2014.
“Welcome to Ukraine Mr. Prime Minister,” Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnyk tweeted, alongside a photograph of them shaking hands on the platform of a train station.
— Andrij Melnyk (@MelnykAndrij) June 10, 2023
Ukraine dam disaster risks contamination from sewage and rotting carcasses
Several hundred tonnes of oil were washed into the Dnipro river, while groundwater sources are believed to have become polluted, writes Harriet Barber
A “plague” of rotting animal carcasses, contamination from cemeteries, and sewage could lead to serious disease outbreaks in flood-hit areas of Ukraine, health officials have warned.
The destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam sent 4.8 billion gallons of water cascading across the war zone of southern Ukraine on Tuesday. Russia and Ukraine have traded blame for the attack, which has forced tens of thousands to leave their homes.
Several hundred tonnes of oil were washed into the Dnipro river, while groundwater sources are believed to have become polluted. The reservoir had provided clean water to 700,000 people.
The Ukrainian health ministry has told locals not to consume water drawn from wells and ground pumps, as is common in rural areas of Ukraine.
Read the full story
Ukraine faces `hugely worse' humanitarian situation after dam rupture, says UN aid chief
The humanitarian situation in Ukraine is “hugely worse” than before the Kakhovka dam collapsed, the UN’s top aid official warned on Friday.
Undersecretary-General Martin Griffiths said an “extraordinary” 700,000 people are in need of drinking water and warned that the ravages of flooding in one of the world’s most important breadbaskets will almost inevitably lead to lower grain exports, higher food prices around the world, and less to eat for millions in need
“This is a viral problem,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But the truth is this is only the beginning of seeing the consequences of this act.”
Last reactor shut down at Ukraine's largest nuclear plant as fighting, flooding continues
Ukraine’s nuclear energy agency says it has put the last operating reactor at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant into a “cold shutdown” — a safety precaution amid catastrophic flooding from the collapse of the Kakhovka dam.
Russian forces continued pummelling the country with missiles and drones overnight, with Ukrainian officials reporting at least four deaths and damage to a military airfield.
Five out of six reactors at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is occupied by Russian forces, are already in a state of cold shutdown, in which all control rods are inserted into the reactor core to stop the nuclear fission reaction and generation of heat and pressure.
Russian airforce unusually active over southern Ukraine, says MoD
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine - 10 June 2023.
Find out more about Defence Intelligence's use of language: https://t.co/Sr1VlSp8Hy
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/lBSwEVN2pH
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) June 10, 2023
In pictures: Latest scenes from the war
Three killed in Odesa region drone attack
Three people were killed early on Saturday in a fire sparked by falling debris from shot-down drones in the region of Odesa in southern Ukraine, regional officials said.
“At night, the enemy attacked Odesa Region with attack drones,” regional authorities said in a statement social media, referring to Russian forces.
Ukraine’s air defence forces destroyed all the unmanned aerial vehicles but their falling debris hit a high-rise residential building, sparking a fire, the statement said.
Ukrainian forces claim to have gained more ground near Bakhmut
Kyiv said there had been heavy fighting in the eastern region of Donetsk on Friday, and a military spokesperson said Ukrainian forces had gained more ground near the devastated city of Bakhmut.
Russia says Ukraine’s counteroffensive has failed so far. Ukraine has not said the counteroffensive has actually begun - nor is it likely to - although the consensus among military analysts seems to be that it has.
With virtually no independent reporting from the front lines and Kyiv saying little, it was impossible to assess whether Ukraine was penetrating Russian defences in its bid to drive out occupying forces.
'Dnipro river should return to its banks by June 16 after dam collapse'
The southern reach of the Dnipro river is likely to return to its banks by June 16 following a vast flood unleashed by the breach of Ukraine’s Kakhovka dam this week, a Russian-installed official said on Saturday.
The flood has inundated towns and villages below the dam, trapping residents and sweeping away entire houses on both sides of the Dnipro, which separates Ukrainian-controlled Kherson province from the southern section that Russian forces control.
Vladimir Saldo, who heads the Russian-controlled part, said the water level at Nova Kakhovka, the town adjacent to the dam on the downstream side, had now dropped by 3 metres (10 feet) from Tuesday’s peak.