World, Europe, Russia-Ukraine War

Russian troops enter Ukraine's Kherson Oblast: Defense Ministry

Russian troops take control of major water supply channel to Crimea, says Russian ministry

Elena Teslova   | 24.02.2022
Russian troops enter Ukraine's Kherson Oblast: Defense Ministry

MOSCOW

The Russian armed forces have entered Ukraine's southern city of Kherson, the country's Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

"Joint operation of the raid units and airborne forces on the Crimean direction provided a passage for the Russian troops to the city of Kherson. This allowed to unblock Northern Crimean channel and restore the water supply to the Crimean Peninsula," a ministry statement said.

The engineers will check the condition of the channel, it said, adding if the pumping stations and hydraulic structures work well, the water supply will be resumed tomorrow.

According to Sergey Aksyonov, the Crimean prime minister appointed by Russia, the Northern Crimean channel supplied up to 85% of all potable water to the peninsula until 2014, but in response to the annexation of Crimea, Kyiv cut off the water supply to the peninsula.

The February 2014 “Maidan revolution” in Ukraine led to former President Viktor Yanukovych fleeing the country and a pro-Western government coming to power.

That was followed by Russia illegally annexing the Crimea region and separatists declaring independence in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Donbas in eastern Ukraine, both of which have large ethnic Russian populations.

As clashes erupted between Russian-backed separatist forces and the Ukrainian army, the 2014 and 2015 Minsk agreements were signed in Moscow after the intervention of Western powers.

The conflict, however, simmered for years with persistent cease-fire violations.

As of February 2022, some 14,000 people have been killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Tensions started escalating late last year when Ukraine, the US and its allies accused Russia of amassing tens of thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine.

They claimed Russia was preparing to invade its western neighbor, allegations that were consistently rejected by Moscow.

Defying threats of sanctions by the West, Moscow officially recognized Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states earlier this week, followed by the start of a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday.

President Vladimir Putin said the operation aims to protect people “subjected to genocide” by Kyiv and to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine, while calling on the Ukrainian army to lay down its arms.

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