UPDATED: Ukraine security service says it intercepted call proving Russia destroyed Kakhovka dam

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KYIV, June 9 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s domestic security service said on Friday it had intercepted a telephone call proving Russian forces blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric station and dam in southern Ukraine’s Kherson region.

The Security Service of Ukraine posted a one-and-a-half minute audio clip of the alleged conversation on its Telegram channel.

Russia’s army on Friday reported heavy fighting in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine, saying over 21 Ukrainian tanks had been destroyed in battles across key sections of the front line.

A spokesman for Russia’s Vostok group of forces said 13 Ukrainian tanks were destroyed in battles in the Zaporizhzhia region and eight in the Donetsk region. It reported artillery, drone and infantry battles.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield claims.

Heavy fighting in Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine

Russian military bloggers said there were intense battles on the Zaporizhzhia front near the city of Orikhiv as Ukraine sought to pierce Russian defences and drive a wedge through Russian forces.

Russia said Ukraine began a major offensive on Sunday morning, first in southern Donetsk, but Moscow said its forces repelled the attacks. Ukraine accused Moscow of spreading lies.

Ukraine’s military shot down four cruise missiles and 10 attack drones during a Russian air strike overnight, the air force said in a statement early on Friday.

It said Russian forces had launched 16 drones and six cruise missiles during the attack, and that two other cruise missiles had struck a civilian object in central Ukraine during an earlier attack on Thursday evening.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, on Thursday hailed what he described as “results” in heavy fighting in Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.

“There is very heavy fighting in Donetsk region,” Zelenskiy said in his daily video message, delivered in a train after visiting areas affected by the breach of the Kakhovka power dam.

“But there are results and I am grateful to those who achieved these results. Well done in Bakhmut. Step by step,” he said.

Zelenskiy referred to other areas where fighting is going on, but said he would provide no details. Pictures posted on his Telegram account showed him meeting some of the country’s top generals in the field.

A handout satellite image made available by Maxar Technologies shows the flooded town of Krynky following the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka Dam the previous day, Ukraine. EPA-EFE/MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES HANDOUT

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