The Ukrainian military denied a Western media report on Thursday that Kiev had begun its upcoming counter-offensive against Russian forces, and Moscow did not comment on the news, but said it had destroyed a column of Ukrainian tanks that were on their way towards the front lines.

Reuters quoted a spokesman for the General Staff of the Ukrainian army as saying: "We have no such information."

The Washington Post quoted Ukrainian military officials as confirming that Ukrainian forces had begun a counter-offensive against Russian forces, and confirmed that Ukrainian forces had intensified their attacks on the frontline in the southeast of the country.

NBC news also quoted a senior Ukrainian officer and a soldier near the front lines as saying the attack had begun.

In the same context, the commander of the Ukrainian ground forces published on Thursday scenes of the destruction of Russian vehicles in the city of Bakhamut, as part of the counterattack carried out by Ukrainian forces on Russian forces, and said that his forces are making continuous progress in the city.

For its part, the British Ministry of Defence, on Thursday, in its daily briefing on Ukraine, that heavy fighting is taking place along "many sectors of the front."

No comment Russia

Russia has not yet commented on the counterattack, but the Russian Defense Ministry on Thursday released a video showing columns of Ukrainian tanks, which it said were on their way towards the front lines.

The ministry confirmed that Russian artillery destroyed the vast majority of armored vehicles that include Western-made tanks such as the Leopard, Sputnik reported.

Meanwhile, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko accused Ukraine of blowing up the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant, to cover up its losses during the attempt to carry out the counterattack, as he put it.

Lukashenko said during his meeting in Minsk with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev that the Ukrainian military attack was a misinformation by the Ukrainian authorities, and stressed that there is no option to settle the Ukrainian crisis but negotiations.

Charges and rescue operations

Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities continue rescue operations for residents in the flood-ravaged southern Kherson region after the destruction of the Kakhovka dam flooded villages, fields and roads.

The governor of the region said about 600 square kilometers of territory had been flooded, and the Ukrainian military said flooding in Kherson had forced Russian forces to retreat and "halved Russian bombardment."

Just as Russia and Ukraine accused each other of blowing up the Kakhovka dam, the two countries today accused each other of bombing the area where aid workers tried to save people and animals from the flooding that is still rising.

Ukraine's prosecutor general said a civilian was killed in Russian shelling in the city of Kherson, and the Ukrainian military administration accused Russian forces of continuing to bomb and intimidate civilians.

In turn, the Kremlin accused Ukraine of bombing Russian rescue workers in the flooded area after the dam collapsed, and the Ukrainian military of bombing a power substation in Korsonka near Kakhovka.

Zaporizhia Reactors

Meanwhile, AFP reported that the operator of the Kakhovka dam announced on Thursday that the reservoir created by the dam in southern Ukraine can no longer supply water to cool the Zaporizhia nuclear plant reactors.

Okrheroenergo chief executive Igor Sirota said the water level was "below the cut-off point of 12.7 metres", meaning it was no longer possible to supply "the basins at the Zaporizhye nuclear power plant for cooling".

Ukrainian authorities also announced that the explosion of the Kakhovka dam could lead to the loss of millions of tons of grain.

The ministry had previously reported after the dam explosion that about 10,<> hectares of agricultural land in the Kherson area, especially areas south of the river, would be flooded.

UN Agreement

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry announced an agreement with the United Nations to evacuate the left bank of the Dnipro River, where the flood zone is, and to send teams to provide humanitarian aid on the condition that safe passage to territory controlled by the Ukrainian government is guaranteed.

A Ukrainian Foreign Ministry statement said it had been agreed with the United Nations that its units would evacuate the affected areas from the Russian-controlled southern bank of the Dnipro River to the Ukrainian-controlled northern bank.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the city of Kherson to inspect the effects of floods caused by the explosion of the Kakhovka dam, and described the situation as a disaster.

Zelenskiy said he discussed with the local administration the situation in Kherson, evacuations, efforts to restore order in the area, as well as the military situation.