Kyiv has accused Moscow of destroying the Nova Kakhovka dam to slow down a Ukrainian offensive, saying the consequences were “already catastrophic”.
“The terrorists’ goal is obvious — to create obstacles for the offensive actions of the armed forces,” Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said.
Russian forces blew up the Nova Kakhovka dam in a Russian-occupied part of southern Ukraine “in a panic”, Ukraine’s military intelligence agency said on Tuesday.
“The occupiers blew up the dam of the Kakhovka Reservoir in a panic – this is an obvious act of terrorism and a war crime, which will be evidence in an international tribunal,” it said in a statement on Telegram.
Terrorist Russia after Nova Kakhovka dam blast — Zelenskyy
Russia’s destruction of the dam confirms that Moscow’s forces “must be expelled” from all of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday.
“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,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Not a single meter should be left to them, because they use every meter for terror.”
Russia denies attacking Nova Kakhovka dam
A Russian-installed official, Vladimir Leontev, in the Russian-controlled Ukrainian town of Nova Kakhovka, told Russian state television that the damage to the dam was the result of a series of Ukrainian strikes.
He added that it would likely be impossible to repair the town’s dam after a blast tore a hole in the structure.
Kyiv has blamed Russian forces for the attack.
The Soviet-era dam, 30 metres (some 98 feet) tall and 3.2 km (2 miles) long, was built in 1956 on the Dnipro River as part of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station.
Wide-scale flooding is expected in the coming hours.
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