A “war crime” according to Kyiv. IUkraine on Tuesday, June 6, accused Russia of being behind the destructionon Monday night, from the Nova Kakhovka dam, causing the banks of the Dnipro to flood, the largest river in Ukraine, in the Kherson region. According to kyiv, Russia’s objective is to hinder the crossing of the river by Ukrainian soldiers, to carry out their counter-offensive. kyiv and Moscow blame each other for this destruction, but most of the material elements point rather in the direction of Russia. Here’s what to remember from the day.
> > War in Ukraine: what we know about the destruction of a dam near Kherson and its consequences
More than 17,000 people to evacuate
Many localities found themselves under water after the destruction of the dam, leading to the evacuation of thousands of inhabitants. “More than 40,000 people are at risk of being in flooded areas. The Ukrainian authorities are evacuating more than 17,000 people. Unfortunately, more than 25,000 civilians are in the territory under Russian control”announced the Ukrainian prosecutor general Andriï Kostine.
According to the head of the military administration of the Kherson region, Oleksandr Prokudin, 1,335 houses were flooded on Tuesday evening on the right bank of the river. “At this stage, 24 localities in Ukraine have been flooded”said Ukrainian Interior Minister Igor Klymenko.
The authorities installed by the Russians in the regions they occupy said they had begun the evacuation of the population of three localities, mobilizing around fifty buses. Vladimir Leontiev, the mayor put in place by Moscow in Nova Kakhovka, where the dam is located, announced that his city is now under water and that 900 of its inhabitants have been evacuated.
Kyiv and Moscow pass the buck
Volodymyr Zelensky attributed the destruction of the dam to “Russian terrorists”accusing Moscow of “war crime”. The Ukrainian president also accused Russia of having “detonated a bomb” on the dam, which she had undermined. “It is physically impossible to somehow blow (it) up from the outside, with bombardments”, the version given by Moscow, he added. Because on the Russian side, the Kremlin denounces an act of “deliberate sabotage” from kyiv and rejects “firmly” the Ukrainian charges. The Russian Foreign Ministry thus called on the international community to “damn” kyiv for the destruction of the dam.
“The world must react. Russia is at war against life, against nature, against civilization”hammered Volodymyr Zelensky, who however assured that this “would not affect Ukraine’s ability to liberate its own territories”. Because for kyiv, the Russians acted in this way in order to “to curb” the offensive of his army.
Fears for the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant
This destruction of the Kakhovka dam has raised new concerns for the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant, located 150 km upstream, which provides cooling. There is “no immediate nuclear danger”however, underlined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The director of the plant occupied by the Russian army, Yuri Tchernitchouk, is also reassuring: the cooling system can be powered by “several alternative sources”, he assures on Telegram. The site’s six reactors are shut down, “Cold” for five of them, “hot” for the latter, he added. For the IAEA, the cooling pond “will be enough to supply the plant with water for months”without ruling out a longer-term risk.
In Geneva, Ocha, the UN humanitarian agency, warned that the destruction of the dam could cause an environmental disaster and “to have a severe impact on hundreds of thousands of people on both sides of the front line”. In Washington, a spokesman for the White House estimated that this destruction had “certainly (caused) many deaths”while specifying not to have “no definitive conclusion on what happened”.
On the European side, Brussels will provide “help needed” to Ukraine after the destruction of the Kakhovka dam, assured the head of Ukrainian diplomacy after a telephone conversation with his European counterpart Josep Borrell. “The EU is ready to provide the necessary assistance and humanitarian aid to mitigate the consequences of this disaster caused by Russia”said Dmytro Kouleba on Twitter.
European Council President Charles Michel claimed on Twitter that Russia had committed “a war crime”. London goes in the same direction, the United Kingdom evoking “a heinous act”. Paris, for its part, reacted in a press release by saying to continue “to denounce and condemn the illegal war of aggression waged by Russia against Ukraine in flagrant violation of international law and to call for the complete, immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Russian armed forces from all Ukrainian territory”.