Kakhovka disaster causes over $1.5 billion in damage so far

The collapse of the Kakhovka dam has already caused more than $1.5 billion worth of damage to Ukraine, according to the Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Ruslan Strilets. However, this number will continue to grow, Strilets said on June 21.

“According to preliminary forecasts, the losses could reach hundreds of billions of hryvnias.”

"Some ecosystems have been lost forever. They will never recover. We have lost endemic species of animals. These species existed only in one place on earth — in southern Ukraine. We have lost half of the forest in this area," Strilets said.

According to him, a plan for the restoration of the region affected by the demolition of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant dam and the consequent flooding is currently being prepared on behalf of the president. The Ecology Ministry and scientists are looking for ways and developing concrete steps to preserve ecosystems.

According to Ukraine's Agriculture Ministry, the collapse of the Kakhovka dam has caused Hr 150-160 billion ($4.1-$4.3 billion) worth of damage to Ukraine's water reclamation system and canals.

After Russia destroyed the Kakhovka dam on June 6, Ukraine's southern Kherson Oblast suffered massive floods and a large-scale humanitarian crisis.

Russian defense minister says 'reserve army' will be formed before July

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu pledged to finish forming military reserves as part of a separate army by the end of June and complete an army corps "in the nearest future," as cited by Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti.

Russian reserve troops will receive more than 3,700 pieces of equipment, Shoigu claimed during Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's meeting with the Security Council on June 22.

On top of that, Russia is forming five tank regiments, which "have already been staffed by more than 60 percent," according to Shoigu.

The minister also alleged that 114,000 contract soldiers and another 52,000 volunteers had been recruited into the Russian army.

According to the U.K. Defense Ministry June 12 intelligence update, Shoigu has recently "maintained a high public profile, likely to present himself as in control of strategic issues" amid Ukraine's accelerating counteroffensive.

On June 13, ​​the Institute for the Study of War said that Shoigu and the Russian military command were trying to regain favor with Putin following successful defensive operations in southern Ukraine.

Russian gas transit through Ukraine could end by 2024

Renewal of the gas transit contract between Ukraine and Russia next year is unlikely, Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko told the Financial Times on June 22.

Kyiv signed a five-year deal with Russia's state-owned gas supplier Gazprom in 2019. According to Halushchenko, it is difficult to imagine the renegotiation of the contract after Russia's full-scale invasion in 2022.

As the Financial Times noted, the pipeline is one of the few remaining gas transit routes for Russian gas westward, accounting for 5% of Europe's total gas imports.

The suspension of the Ukrainian transit will leave TurkStream as the only route through which Russia delivers gas to Europe.

Since last year, Moscow started limiting its gas exports to the EU to drive up the prices to undermine support for Ukraine.

European countries began working to diversify their suppliers, for example, buying liquified natural gas (LNG) from the U.S. or Qatar.

While in 2021 Russia accounted for almost half of the EU's gas imports, by the end of 2022 the number dropped to 13%.

In May, the G7 and the EU announced they will ban Russian gas imports on routes where Moscow has cut supplies before.