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 stream 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, may turn into crucial as early as 11am, he added. Riverside districts of Kherson have been already being flooded on Tuesday morning, in response to native media reviews.

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 may 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 have been dropping, however the degree within the plant’s cooling pond stood at 16.6 metres – “enough for the ability plant’s wants”.

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

The flooding can 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, in-built 1956, constituted one of many nation’s largest vitality services, 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 vitality infrastructure, “its destruction would have far-reaching penalties past the fast space”, Nayyem stated.

“Russian army forces could take into account that the breakthrough of the dam may cowl their retreat from the suitable 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 battle 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 photos made by Maxar Applied sciences confirmed harm to the dam’s sluice gates and a bit of highway.

Video description

Drone footage exhibits water breaching the destroyed Kakhovka dam

Drone footage shows water gushing out from the Kakhovka dam

Drone footage exhibits water breaching the destroyed Kakhovka dam © Reuters

Drone footage exhibits water breaching the destroyed Kakhovka dam © Reuters

Russia captured all the Kherson area, which is bisected by the Dnipro, through 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 may 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 response to 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 may very well be affected.

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

Further reporting by Henry Foy

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