Russia-Ukraine War: Major cholera outbreak could hit Mariupol - UK intel

Russia is struggling to provide basic services to the population of the areas in Ukraine under its control.

 A local resident rides a scooter near a destroyed shopping mall in Mariupol. (photo credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO)
A local resident rides a scooter near a destroyed shopping mall in Mariupol.

Mariupol, the Sea of Azov port city in Ukraine's Donetsk Oblast that Russia seized after some of the heaviest fightings of the war, is now on the cusp of a major outbreak of cholera, according to the latest UK defense intelligence update released Friday as the war stretches into its 107th day.

Ukraine last suffered a major cholera outbreak in 1995 but minor outbreaks persist, especially around the Sea of Azov coast, which is where Mariupol is located.

Last month, WHO's Ukraine Incident Manager, Dorit Nitzan, said Mariupol, which is now controlled by Russian forces after weeks of siege and heavy bombardment, was among occupied areas where there was a risk of cholera. 

This comes as Russia is struggling to provide basic public services to the local population in its new gains in Ukraine's East and South. These include major disruptions to telephone and Internet access, a lack of consistent access to safe drinking water and a major shortage of medicine, the latter specifically hitting the occupied Kherson Oblast, according to the UK defense intelligence update.

However, Russia is continuing to try and consolidate authority in the areas it occupies in Ukraine, specifically by having Russian officials take over government positions in these areas, as noted by the US-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Day 107

Ukrainian troops repelled seven Russian attacks in the areas in and around the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in eastern Ukraine, according to the latest operational report from the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces as the invasion enters its 107th day.

Russian troops continue to fire along the line of contact, including at populated areas, near Donetsk, and clashes continue in the city of Sievierodonetsk in Luhansk as Russia tries to take control of the city.

These clashes are especially focused on the Azot industrial zone in the city, where Russian forces have continued to launch heavy artillery fire, according to a recent report from the US-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

According to the UK defense intelligence update, Russia has continued to make little progress encircling the city from the North and South.

Russia has also made gains north of Slovyansk, but the Siverskyi Donets River may pose difficulties in keeping them from attacking the city itself, according to the ISW. In addition, they also made some advances east of Bakhmut.

Russia is looking for weak points in Ukrainian defenses near the Siverskyi Donets River in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian Defense Ministry Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said on Friday.

He told national television that Russian forces had not abandoned attempts to launch storming operations in the area.

If Russia captures the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk on the Siverskyi Donets, it will hold all of Luhansk, one of two provinces in the Donbas region that Moscow claims on behalf of separatists.

In the Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine may be launching limited counterattacks on Russian positions near Ternova, according to the ISW.

Russian forces launched artillery and mortar fire at localities in the Chernihiv Oblast in north-central Ukraine, the Ukrainian military announced on Facebook.

There were no casualties reported, though one non-residential building was damaged.

Further attacks were also reportedly launched at the Sumy Oblast.

Fighting in the South

In the South, Russia continues strengthening its positions, specifically intensifying defenses and launching some attacks in the northeastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

However, Ukraine's military has stated that it has launched a series of strikes at outposts and warehouses in five different localities in the Kherson Oblast, which has been almost completely occupied by Russia.


Russia has continued to mount severe losses since the invasion began.

According to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Russia has so far lost 31,900 soldiers, 212 aircraft, 178 helicopters, 3,450 armored personnel vehicles, 125 cruise missiles, 572 drones, 1,409 tanks, 712 artillery pieces, 222 MLRSs, 97 anti-aircraft systems, 13 ships, 2,438 vehicles and fuel tanks and 54 pieces of special equipment.

However, the exact number of casualties on both sides is impossible to verify.

This is a developing story.

Reuters contributed to this report.