Ukraine Rushes to Evacuate Thousands from Dam Flooding Amid Continued Shelling

June 7, 2023

Ukraine on Wednesday was rushing to evacuate tens of thousands from flooding in the Kherson region following destruction of the Kakhovka Dam.

Shelling from Russia’s war on Ukraine reportedly could be heard overhead as dozens of people on an island in the Dnipro River hurried onto military trucks or rafts to flee the rising waters.

Ukraine on Tuesday accused Russia of blowing up the dam, which separates Russian and Ukrainian forces in the war zone, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky referring to the destruction as an act of “Russian terrorists.”

Further, Ukraine’s chief prosecutor has launched a criminal investigation into the dam’s destruction, accusing Russia of “ecocide.”

Russian officials, however, accused Kyiv of striking the dam with missiles to distract attention from what they said were failures in its recently-launched counteroffensive to take back Ukrainian territory from Russian control.

While the exact cause behind the dam’s destruction was not immediately clear, some top European officials denounced Russia, which currently maintains military possession of the region.

Engineering and munitions experts told the New York Times that a deliberate explosion from inside the dam had most likely caused its collapse. The experts conceded that structural failure or an attack from outside the structure was possible though less plausible. 

Ukraine’s energy ministry has stated that the explosion at the dam had cause “no threats” to Ukraine’s electricity supply, adding that there was no direct threat” to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is supplied cooling water through the now-destroyed dam. 

However, the  International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials have said they are “closely monitoring the situation” while also noting that there is “no immediate threat.”

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres called the dam’s destruction a “monumental humanitarian, economic and ecological catastrophe.”

PHOTO: @ZelenskyyUa

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