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Amid rumors of Ukrainian ambitions to continue its counteroffensive across the Dnipro River, an official in Ukraine’s Kherson region said that it was “too early” to talk about the liberation of more Russian-controlled villages.

“There has been no official information yet,” Serhii Khlan, a member of the Kherson regional council, said during a press conference.

“Yesterday I said that a Ukrainian flag was spotted on the Yunist [Youth] cinema in Nova Kakhovka, and that Ukrainian flags started to appear here and there throughout the city, but there was no information of liberation and control of these settlements.”

CNN cannot confirm Khlan’s claims. Ukrainian officials on Monday said that the military was conducting an intense bombardment of Russian positions on the Dnipro River’s eastern bank.

Khlan also said that Ukraine aimed to control the waterway that supplies Russian-controlled Crimea with fresh water. That waterway, the North Crimean Canal, is fed by the Dnipro River, near the town of Russian-controlled town of Tavriisk, on the river’s eastern bank.

The canal was dammed by Ukraine in 2014 after Russia illegally annexed Crimea. Russia resumed the flow of water after captured southern Ukraine after the February 2022 invasion.

“We need to wait for the official message that we control Tavriisk – this is where the main sluices are for the water to flow freely along the North-Crimean canal,” Khlan said. “Once we take control of Tavriisk, then we can talk about closing the sluices and cutting off the water supply to North-Crimean canal.”

‘Humanitarian catastrophe’

The resident of the Kherson region’s liberated areas “are suffering humanitarian catastrophe right now, which was artificially created by the occupiers,” Khlan said.

“We have a lot of challenges on renewing a normal life for the residents: Water, heat, electricity, especially considering the transformers for the electricity were destroyed, this all adds up,” he said. “There are still difficulties with the connection, although we now inform of the locations where people can charge their mobile device and get a connection from a Starlink to call their dearest.”

He said that the power company hoped to restore the city’s electricity supply within a week, but that it could take up to a month. Officials have warned that infrastructure must be de-mined before technicians can repair it.

Police are also busy opening criminal proceedings into the conduct of the former Russian occupiers, Khlan said.

“The police investigators are working and opening the criminal proceedings,” he said. “I think with some time we will see all these proceedings and all these cases with the Russian war crimes recorded.”

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