Ukraine’s military has accused Russia of breaching the Nova Kakhovka dam on the Dnipro river in the southern Kherson region of Ukraine, putting many thousands of lives and critical infrastructure at risk.
The dam is in Russian-occupied territory. Russia has denied attacking the dam.
European Council President Charles Michel said on Twitter that he was shocked by the unprecedented attack on the Nova Kakhovka dam.
“The destruction of civilian infrastructure clearly qualifies as a war crime – and we will hold Russia and its proxies accountable,” Michel said.
He said that he would raise the issue at European Council meeting scheduled for June 29 and 30 and would propose more assistance to the flooded areas.
“The Kakhovka [reservoir] was blown up by the Russian occupying forces,” the South command of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said on Tuesday morning on its Facebook page, Deutsche Welle reported.
“The scale of the destruction, the speed and volumes of water, and the likely areas of inundation are being clarified.”
On Twitter, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “Russian terrorists. The destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam only confirms for the whole world that they must be expelled from every corner of Ukrainian land.
“Not a single meter should be left to them, because they use every meter for terror. It’s only Ukraine’s victory that will return security. And this victory will come. The terrorists will not be able to stop Ukraine with water, missiles or anything else,” Zelenskyy said.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said that blowing up the Kakhovska HPP would have devastating consequences, including drowning in the region, long term water shortage, irreparable damages to thousands of lives of innocent civilians and ecosystems.
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Twitter: “The destruction of the Kakhovka dam today puts thousands of civilians at risk and causes severe environmental damage. This is an outrageous act, which demonstrates once again the brutality of Russia’s war in Ukraine”.
The dam also provides water for cooling reactors at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, Europe’s largest, about 160km upstream, in what is currently Russian-occupied territory.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said that it was aware of reports of damage at Ukraine’s Kakhovka dam: “IAEA experts at Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant are closely monitoring the situation; no immediate nuclear safety risk at plant”.
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