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Latest in Ukraine: The counteroffensive is on, so is massive flooding

A resident walks on Sunday in a flooded street after the Kakhovka Dam burst and unleashed floodwaters, in Kherson, Ukraine.
Narciso Contreras
/
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
A resident walks on Sunday in a flooded street after the Kakhovka Dam burst and unleashed floodwaters, in Kherson, Ukraine.

Updated June 12, 2023 at 1:40 PM ET

Here's a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week.

What to watch

Ukraine's counteroffensive to recapture territory from Russian forces is being closely watched.

NATO's kicking off a two-week military exercise called Air Defender 23, which host-country Germany bills as "the largest deployment exercise of air forces in NATO's history."

Russia is celebrating Russia Day, with President Vladimir Putin saying at a "difficult time" for the country, patriotism unites society in support of their troops fighting in Ukraine.

The White House had to reschedule a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House and other planned meetings because President Biden had a root canal.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is on his way to Ukraine to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and visit the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

Officials from Turkey and Sweden are due for talks this week on the Swedish bid to join NATO.

NATO member states' defense chiefs will meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. A meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission is scheduled for Thursday.

What happened last week

Ukraine launched its much-awaited counteroffensive, hitting different points of Russia's defensive lines with newly NATO-supplied weaponry and retaking some villages. Russia's government said its forces were mainly holding their ground and inflicting a significant toll on Ukrainian troops and tanks.

Ukraine's Kakhovka Dam burst, flooding areas with homes and farms and leading to major potential environmental and food problems. Russia and Ukraine blame each other for the dam's destruction, while Ukraine's leader called for an international investigation. Seismic stations picked up activity indicating an explosion at the dam.

Another American was detained in Russia. A court in Moscow accused Michael Travis Leake, a musician based in Russia, of engaging in drug dealing with young people.

Russia and Ukraine announced a prisoner swap of almost 100 captives on each side.

President Biden hosted British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the White House and discussed their countries' historic levels of security aid to Ukraine. Earlier in the week, the White House also hosted Denmark's prime minister, Mette Frederiksen.

In-depth

Ukraine's Zelenskyy confirms that an offensive against Russia is underway.

Many in Poland fear their country is moving toward autocracy.

Ukraine's anarchists have come together in support of the war.

Seismic stations detected explosion at Ukrainian dam around the time it collapsed.

Ukraine blames Russia for blowing up a major southern dam.

What we know about a large dam's catastrophic breach in Ukraine.

For Russia and Ukraine, the battlefield includes the economy.

The U.S.' top general reflects on the changing face of war, 79 years after D-Day.

On the State of Ukraine podcast: How the war in Ukraine plays a part in Egypt's food crisis, memories of Bakhmut before it was a killing field and more.

Special report

Russia's war in Ukraine is changing the world: See our report on its ripple effects in all corners of the globe.

Earlier developments

You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR's coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Alex Leff is a digital editor on NPR's International Desk, helping oversee coverage from journalists around the world for its growing Internet audience. He was previously a senior editor at GlobalPost and PRI, where he wrote stories and edited the work of international correspondents.

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