Russia is likely building a water pipeline to alleviate the water shortage in the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk, an issue growing since Moscow's full-scale invasion, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on May 9.
The move aims to make up for Russia's lack of success in securing the Siverskyi Donets canal, which supplies Ukraine's Donetsk Oblast, but the pipeline is "highly unlikely" to fully compensate for the limited access to water in the region's occupied part, reads the report.
The Siverskyi Donets-Donbas Canal remains mainly under Ukrainian control, but its long route has often been contested, the ministry wrote in its latest intelligence update. The canal passes through the town of Chasiv Yar, about 6 km west of Bakhmut.
"Russia's heavy use of indirect artillery to support the capture of Bakhmut and surrounding territory has likely inflicted collateral damage to the canal and other regional water infrastructure, undermining Russia's efforts to remedy the lack of water that its invasion originally created," adds the update.
Ukraine's eastern Donetsk Oblast is the site of the war's fiercest fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces as Russia seeks to capture the entire region. The regional capital Donetsk has been occupied since Russia's first Donbas invasion in 2014.