Ukraine: Military drone drops supplies to civilians caught in flooding
Russian soldiers have been swept away by flood waters following their own alleged attack on a major dam in southern Ukraine, according to a member of Ukraine’s armed forces.
The Kakhova dam was destroyed earlier this week, leading to chaos in surrounding areas and tens of thousands of people displaced.
The dam lay along the Dnipro River in Russian-controlled Kherson collapsed on Tuesday, and both Russia and Ukraine have laid blame on each other for the attack
According to Captain Andrei Pidlisnyi, Ukrainian troops have claimed they witnessed Russian soldiers being swept away in the rapid floodwaters.
He told CNN: “No one on the Russian side was able to get away. All the regiments the Russians had on that side were flooded.”
Pidlisnyi also claimed the Kremlin targeted the dam to blow a hole in Ukraine’s plans for an upcoming offensive.
He said Moscow’s forces wanted to “raise the water level to flood the approaches and the left bank of the Dnipro river, as well as the settlements located there”.
He explained that doing so would “make it impossible” for the Ukrainian army to make advances in the area.
In Russian and Ukrainian-controlled areas along the Dnipro River, approximately 42,000 individuals remain in significant danger due to the threat of flooding.
The nearby town of Oleshk is now almost completely submerged, with Ukraine initiating a large-scale evacuation of more than 17,000 residents residing in high-risk zones on Tuesday.
Ukrainian authorities are still calling for 25,000 residents to evacuate from Russian-occupied areas after the incident.
What’s more, floodwaters also could endanger the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest nuclear facility in Europe.
Amid the turmoil, Russian and Ukrainian officials have insisted the blame lies with either side for the “terrorist act” that has been described as an “ecological disaster”.
Meanwhile, Russian state-affiliated TASS news agency has claimed the dam “collapsed” due to damage.
There are also growing fears the dam incident has dramatically altered Ukraine’s long-laid plans for a counteroffensive in the region, pointing to Russia likely being the ones behind the destruction.
The reason for this is that the road traversing the dam was the sole functional bridge connecting Zaporizhzhia and the sea across the Dnipro River.
Should the dam, located within Russian-occupied territory, have come under Ukrainian control, it could have been utilised to establish and maintain a bridgehead, serving as a crucial component of a cross-river assault.
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Sean Bell, a retired air vice-marshal told Daily Express US: “If the Ukrainians wanted to make their way over the Dnipro River, they could end up cutting off a Russian escape route to Crimea.
“And therefore, by having the ability to flood the Dnieper River, you would have the ability to cover your tracks to protect your flank.”
According to the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), more flooding in likely in the coming days as the dam’s structure is likely to deteriorate further.
It said in an update: “The Russian-controlled Kakhovka dam partially failed just before 0300hrs local time on 06 June 2023. By 1200hrs, the entire eastern portion of the dam and much of the hydro and utilities infrastructure was swept away.”
The ministry also said that the water level in the Kakhovka Reservoir was at a record high before the collapse, meaning a particularly high volume of water flooded into surrounding areas.
Ukrainian authorities warned that the dam’s failure could unleash 18 million cubic meters (4.8 billion gallons) of water, which could lead to even more devastation across Kherson and dozens of other populated areas.
President Volodymyr Zelensky called an emergency meeting to deal with the crisis.
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