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Floods hit Ukraine after Kakhovka dam breached

The Kakhovka dam spanning the Dnipro river in southern Ukraine was breached on Tuesday, flooding swaths of territory forward of an anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive and threatening essential water provides to a nuclear energy plant.

Russia and Ukraine blamed one another for the harm, which Kyiv warned would have “catastrophic penalties” and have an effect on dozens of settlements in addition to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear energy plant, which depends on water move from the reservoir upstream of the dam to chill the reactors.

Oleksandr Prokudyn, governor of Ukraine’s Kherson area, stated Russian forces controlling the world had blown up the dam and ordered the evacuation of a number of villages alongside the Ukraine-controlled western financial institution of the Dnipro river.

Water ranges within the space in danger, which Prokudyn stated included a part of the regional capital Kherson, might turn into crucial as early as 11am, he added. Riverside districts of Kherson had been already being flooded on Tuesday morning, in accordance with native media experiences.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy referred to as an emergency safety council assembly and blamed “Russian terrorists” for the explosion.

“The destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric energy station might have catastrophic penalties for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear energy plant, which makes use of water from the Kakhovka reservoir to chill nuclear reactors,” stated Mustafa Nayyem, head of Ukraine’s State Company for Restoration.

Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear energy operator, stated water ranges within the Kakhovka reservoir had been dropping, however the degree within the plant’s cooling pond stood at 16.6 metres – “adequate for the facility plant’s wants”.

The Worldwide Atomic Power Company stated there was “no instant nuclear security danger on the plant” but it surely was monitoring the scenario.

The flooding can also be more likely to complicate any Ukrainian plans for an amphibious assault on the world throughout an anticipated counteroffensive.

The dam and its hydroelectric energy station, inbuilt 1956, constituted one of many nation’s largest power amenities, containing about 18 cubic kilometres of water and offering electrical energy to greater than 3mn folks.

As an important a part of the nation’s power infrastructure, “its destruction would have far-reaching penalties past the instant space”, Nayyem stated.

“Russian army forces might contemplate that the breakthrough of the dam might cowl their retreat from the fitting financial institution of the Dnipro and forestall or delay Ukraine’s advance throughout the river,” he added.

Jens Stoltenberg, Nato secretary-general, stated the dam’s destruction “places hundreds of civilians in danger and causes extreme environmental harm. That is an outrageous act, which demonstrates as soon as once more the brutality of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.”

Movies on social media confirmed water surging by means of an unlimited gap within the dam from its reservoir, which additionally provides a canal that brings water to the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula. Satellite tv for pc photographs made by Maxar Applied sciences confirmed harm to the dam’s sluice gates and a piece of highway.

Video description

Drone footage reveals water breaching the destroyed Kakhovka dam

Drone footage shows water gushing out from the Kakhovka dam

Drone footage reveals water breaching the destroyed Kakhovka dam © Reuters

Drone footage reveals water breaching the destroyed Kakhovka dam © Reuters

Russia captured your entire Kherson area, which is bisected by the Dnipro, throughout the early weeks of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion final 12 months, earlier than retreating throughout the river from the regional capital final November.

Regardless of surrendering Kherson to Ukraine, Putin nonetheless formally considers town a part of Russia and its residents to be Russian residents after a botched try to annex 4 south-eastern Ukrainian areas previous to the retreat.

Ukraine and Russia have routinely accused one another of shelling the dam, the hydroelectric station and the nuclear energy plant.

Zelenskyy stated final 12 months that Russia planted mines within the space whereas getting ready its retreat, which he warned might trigger a “large-scale catastrophe” and destroy water provides to Crimea.

Vladimir Leontiev, Russian-appointed mayor of the occupied city of Nova Kakhovka, claimed Ukrainian forces had shelled the dam and brought on it to break down, in accordance with state information company Tass.

Leontiev stated Russian authorities would evacuate locals in danger from the flooding, which he stated affected about 300 properties in close by villages. Russian-controlled emergency companies stated about 80 cities might be affected.

EU council president Charles Michel blamed Moscow for the dam breach. “The destruction of civilian infrastructure clearly qualifies as a conflict crime — and we are going to maintain Russia and its proxies accountable,” he wrote on Twitter.

Further reporting by Henry Foy