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Flood fears after Kakhovka dam blown up in Ukraine

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

Russia and Ukraine blamed one another for the assault, which Kyiv warned would have “catastrophic penalties” and have an effect on dozens of settlements, together with the Zaporizhzhia nuclear energy plant, which depends on water flows to chill the reactor.

Oleksandr Prokudyn, governor of Ukraine’s Kherson area, stated Russian forces had detonated 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 change into vital as early as 11am, he added.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy referred to as an emergency safety council assembly on Tuesday 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.

The flooding can be more likely to complicate Ukraine’s plans for an amphibious assault on the realm throughout an anticipated counteroffensive.

The dam and its hydroelectric energy station, in-built 1956, have been 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, Nayyem stated, “its destruction would have far-reaching penalties past the speedy space”, including that it may “result in tons of of hundreds of victims”.

“Russian army forces might contemplate that the breakthrough of the dam may cowl their retreat from the best financial institution of the Dnipro and stop or delay Ukraine’s advance throughout the river,” Nayyem stated.

Movies on social media confirmed water surging by way 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 piece of street.

Russia captured your complete 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 the town a part of Russia and its residents to be Russian residents after a botched try and 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 line with state information company Tass.

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

Tass cited one other Russia-backed official who stated the flooding posed no speedy “vital hazard” to the nuclear energy plant.