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Ukraine’s Zelenskyy says dam blast won’t cease navy plans | Russia-Ukraine warfare Information

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has referred to as the collapse of the Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine an act of “mass environmental destruction” and mentioned the assault on such crucial infrastructure wouldn’t alter Ukraine’s plans to retake territory from occupying Russian forces.

Describing the explosion that destroyed the dam as a deliberate and chaotic act by Russia, Zelenskyy mentioned on Tuesday that the dam was blown up in a bid to “use the flood as a weapon” to hamper Ukrainian forces.

In his nightly handle to the nation, Zelenskyy mentioned Moscow was resigned to shedding management of Russian-annexed Crimea and, subsequently, had destroyed the area’s water provide.

“The truth that Russia intentionally destroyed the Kakhovka reservoir, which is critically vital, specifically, for offering water to Crimea, signifies that the Russian occupiers have already realised that they should flee Crimea as properly,” he mentioned.

“We’ll nonetheless liberate all our land,” Zelenskyy mentioned, including that the blowing up of the dam wouldn’t avert a Russian defeat however would add to the post-war reparation prices that Moscow should pay to Ukraine at some point.

The Kremlin blamed Ukraine for the dam’s collapse on Tuesday, saying Kyiv had destroyed the location to distract from the faltering launch of its counteroffensive that Moscow had already blunted.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu mentioned his forces had thwarted the primary three days of Ukraine’s counteroffensive in battles that had left 1000’s of Ukrainian troopers lifeless or wounded. The choice to destroy the dam was to sluggish the attacking Russian forces, he mentioned.

Neither Moscow nor Kyiv offered proof for his or her claims relating to the dam’s destruction.

The dam’s collapse presents a brand new humanitarian catastrophe within the centre of a warfare zone and as Ukraine prepares for its long-awaited counteroffensive.

‘Grave and far-reaching penalties’

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from the dam’s reservoir in Ukraine’s Zaporizhia area, mentioned that earlier than its destruction, the dam had offered electrical energy and consuming water for tons of of 1000’s of individuals in Ukraine.

“The locals that we’ve spoken to right here say … that the water stage in the present day has dropped wherever between a metre and two metres, and we count on within the coming hours and days for the extent to proceed dropping and on that foundation, one can solely think about the type of devastating impact that it’s having on affected areas south of the dam,” Stratford mentioned.

Ihor Syrota, head of Ukraine’s hydroelectric energy authority, instructed the United States-funded radio station Donbas Realii that flooding had brought on waters to rise by 3.5 meters (11.5 toes) and that Ukrainian officers imagine the flood waters would crest on Wednesday, then ranges would start to fall inside three to 4 days.

The flooding has already submerged villages and cities across the metropolis of Kherson and Russian officers warned that the primary canal supplying water to the Russian-annexed Crimea peninsula is receiving drastically much less water.

Ukrainian authorities mentioned 17,000 folks have been being evacuated from Ukrainian-held territory and a complete of 24 villages had been flooded.

“Over 40,000 persons are at risk of being flooded,” Ukraine’s Prosecutor Normal Andriy Kostin mentioned, including that 25,000 extra folks must be evacuated in essentially the most crucial areas in danger on the Russian-occupied facet of the Dnipro River.

Vladimir Leontyev, the Moscow-installed mayor of Nova Kakhovka the place the dam is situated, mentioned the town was underwater and tons of of individuals had been evacuated.

The United Nations mentioned at the very least 16,000 folks have already misplaced their properties and that efforts have been below method to supply clear water, cash, and authorized and emotional assist to these affected. Folks on the Ukrainian-controlled facet of the river have been being evacuated by ferries to cities together with Mykolaiv and Odesa to the west.

UN Undersecretary-Normal for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths instructed the Safety Council on Tuesday that the total “magnitude of the disaster” will solely grow to be absolutely realised within the coming days.

“However it’s already clear that it’ll have grave and far-reaching penalties for 1000’s of individuals in southern Ukraine – on each side of the entrance line – by way of the lack of properties, meals, protected water and livelihoods,” Griffiths mentioned.

Russia and Ukraine traded blame for the catastrophe at an emergency assembly of the UN Safety Council on Tuesday.

James Bays, Al Jazeera’s diplomatic editor reporting from the UN’s headquarters in New York, mentioned the Russian and Ukrainian ambassadors on the council assembly gave “utterly totally different accounts of what’s occurred” to the dam.

The Russian ambassador made the purpose that there had been earlier threats to the dam by Ukraine, Bays mentioned, and Ukraine made the purpose that the dam was located in territory managed by Russian forces and that solely mining the dam may have destroyed it, not an assault from afar.

“These are the clear positions of the 2 sides and actually what you want is somebody to correctly examine which of those two utterly totally different tales is true. I don’t suppose that could be very more likely to occur anytime quickly,” Bays mentioned, noting that the dam stays a navy entrance line.

Ukraine’s inside minister mentioned on Tuesday that Russia was shelling areas from the place folks have been being evacuated from the dam’s flood waters and that two law enforcement officials had been wounded.

Ben Barry, a senior fellow on the Worldwide Institute for Strategic Research, mentioned flooding from the dam could be to Moscow’s benefit within the brief time period.

“Taking into account Russia is on the strategic defensive and Ukraine on the strategic offensive, within the brief time period it’s a bonus to Russia, positively,” Barry mentioned.

“It’ll assist the Russians till the water subsides as a result of it makes it harder for Ukraine to do assault river crossings,” he mentioned.

Flood water inundating the area will even forestall the usage of heavy weaponry similar to tanks for at the very least a month, mentioned Maciej Matysiak, a safety knowledgeable on the Stratpoints Basis and ex-deputy chief of Polish navy counter-intelligence.

“(This) creates an excellent defending place for Russians who count on Ukrainian offensive exercise,” Matysiak mentioned.

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