Alarm in Cherson: the important Kakhovka dam was destroyed. The situation is critical, thousands of people are threatened.
The most important things at a glance
According to the warring parties, an important dam near the front was severely damaged in the Russian-occupied part of the southern Ukrainian region of Cherson. Kiev and Moscow blamed each other for the incident with potentially serious consequences on Tuesday morning.
The Ukrainian Task Force South announced that the Russian occupiers had blown up the dam in the town of Nowa Kakhovka themselves. The Russian army, however, accused Ukraine of shelling the dam. It was a terrorist attack, said a representative of the occupation administration deployed by Russia. This is what the Russian leadership usually describes Ukrainian attacks.
On Tuesday morning, the Moscow-installed mayor of Nova Kakhovka, Vladimir Leontyev, told the Russian state news agency TASS that Ukrainian forces continued shelling the city. “A number of shells are now hitting the coast.” The information provided by both sides could not initially be checked independently.
Unconfirmed videos on social media showed a series of violent explosions around the Kakhovka Dam, which dates back to the Soviet era. Other footage showed masses of water pouring through what was left of the dam.
See the pictures above in the video or here.
How is Ukraine reacting?
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called an emergency meeting of the National Security Council on Tuesday morning. According to the British “Guardian”, Selenskyj said the destruction of the dam meant a “disaster on a large scale”. Accordingly, he compared such an act with the use of weapons of mass destruction.
According to the newspaper, the Ukrainian military intelligence service said the extent of the environmental disaster went far beyond Ukraine’s borders and affected the entire Black Sea region.
Andriy Yermak, Zelenskyy’s advisor, described the destruction of the dam as “ecocide” and blamed Russia for it. The Ukrainian authorities worked to ensure the safety of local residents.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter of “probably the biggest technical catastrophe in Europe for decades”. Thousands of civilians are at risk. “This is a heinous war crime,” Kuleba said.
What are the consequences of the destruction of the dam?
The consequences of the explosions at the dam in the Kherson region are likely to be devastating. Around 80 towns could be affected, according to the Russian state news agency Tass, citing emergency services. The state news agency Ria, citing the administration installed by Russia in the occupied parts of the Ukrainian Cherson Oblast, spoke of 22,000 people in 14 towns at risk of flooding.
The region’s military governor, Oleksandr Prokudin, said 16,000 people were in the critical zone on the right bank of the river. “Within five hours the water will reach a critical level,” he said on Telegram in the morning. “The extent of the destruction, the speed and volume of the water and the likely flood areas are being determined.” Several islands located downstream are now completely flooded, Ria reported, citing local authorities.