May 21, 2024

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Dam destroyed in Ukraine: Blasts affect civilian evacuation

Dam destroyed in Ukraine: Blasts affect civilian evacuation

Russian artillery fire wounded at least nine people on Thursday amid a rescue operation in the flooded southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, as Russia also blamed the Ukrainian army for the deadly fire and said troops and armored vehicles had driven the onslaught further north.

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Ukrainians have accused the Russian military of attacking Kherson in recent days as thousands of civilians were evacuated from flooded areas following the destruction of the Kakhovka dam on the upper reaches of the Dnieper River.

“Nine people were injured as a result of the bombing” in the Kherson center, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said on Telegram, noting that it had “not received information” on possible deaths as previously reported.

According to regional governor Oleksandr Prokhudin, the injured included “two rescue workers, a policeman, a nurse and a German volunteer”.

“Four residents were injured” in another strike in a village near Kherson, the regional prosecutor’s office said.

In a message posted on social media after visiting the more than 600 km2 flooded area, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told rescue workers they were working “under Russian fire”.

At this point, Ukrainian and Russian occupation officials estimate that six people have died in the floods.

According to Moscow, the attack was foiled

Russian occupation authorities in Ukraine have blamed Kiev for bombings that killed two people, including a pregnant woman, at an evacuation site in the Russian-controlled area of ​​Golan Brystan.

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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said his troops faced a Ukrainian offensive in the Zaporizhia region, northeast of Kherson, as Kiev said it was ready to launch an offensive to recapture areas occupied by Moscow.

“At around 1:30 a.m. today (Wednesday 22:30 GMT) in the Zaporizhia region, the enemy with 1,500 men and 150 armored vehicles (…) tried to break through our defenses,” Mr. Shoigu said in a statement. . “The enemy is halted and retreating with heavy losses,” he said.

However, the reports cannot be verified from independent sources.

Ukrainian officials did not immediately comment on the events.

Moscow and Kiev deny responsibility for Tuesday’s collapse of the Khakovka dam on the Dnieper river, raising fears of a humanitarian and environmental disaster.

Ukraine on Tuesday accused Ukraine of dynamiting the dam to cut off an attack route into Crimea in the south, but Russia insists it was a “barbaric” act by Ukrainians.

A Russian representative repeated the allegations before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday during an inquiry into military support that Ukraine accuses of providing to separatists in the Donbass since 2014.

“Ukraine said that Russia blew up the big dam located in Nova Khakovka. In fact, Ukraine did it,” Alexander Shulkin, the Russian ambassador to the Netherlands, told the court.

According to the regional administration, 2,198 people were evacuated. Many fled on their own.

On the Ukrainian side of the river, “20 places and 2,629 houses” were flooded, emergency services explained. A man died.

On the Russian occupation side, according to the occupation authorities, 4,500 people “have already been evacuated”, and argued that “five people (…) drowned”, Vladimir Leontiev, mayor of the city of Nova Khakovka, established. Russia.

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More than 20,000 consumers are still without power, the Ukrainian Energy Ministry said, as it asked Europe for more electricity.

There is no “immediate” nuclear danger

The minister, German Galouchtchenko, added that the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant, which is cooled by Dnieper water, “does not present any immediate danger at this stage but requires supervision”.

However, the level of the dam’s water reservoir, below the critical 12.7 meters, is insufficient to supply the basins of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant for cooling operations, the operator’s boss explained.

In Kherson, Tetyana Omelchenko, 65, told AFP she waited two days for rescuers before finally crawling out of her apartment through a window and reaching their inflatable boat.

“In my building, the water has reached the third floor and there are still people there,” he said.

Laura Mousiane, an employee of the local Meteorological Centre, said the water level was 5.33 meters above normal. But “it’s starting to slow down,” she said.

Earlier in the day, Volodymyr Zelensky, in an interview with German media Welt TV and Bild, condemned the lack of humanitarian aid from the United Nations and the Red Cross.

The Red Cross pledged to participate in evacuation operations on Ukrainian territory with about fifty volunteers. According to kyiv on Thursday, United Nations aid will be increased.

A four-year-old boy, his father and grandfather were also killed in a Russian strike in the Donetsk region (east), Ukrainian police said in a telegram, while five others, including four children, were injured.

The Kremlin finally warned on Thursday that Monday’s explosion of an ammonia pipeline in Ukraine, essential for exporting fertilizer, could have a “negative impact” on the future of the country’s crucial grain deal, a global food supply it has been reluctant to extend. .

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