A major catastrophe has been declared in southern Ukraine after a dam at a hydro-electric plant in Russian-occupied Nova Kakhova was blown up flooding dozens of communities on both sides of the Dnieper River. Kyiv accused Moscow of blowing up the infrastructure, with President Zelensky claiming the dam was “mined by Russian occupiers” to block Ukraine’s counter-offensive. The Kremlin vehemently denied this.
Amid the evacuation of tens of thousands of stricken people, UN chief Antonio Guterres called the breach a “monumental” catastrophe on a humanitarian, economic and ecological level with fears of consequences for decades. He added that more than 150 tonnes of engine oil from the dam near the town of Nova Kakhovka is contaminating the water that serves a host of communities upstream as well as extensive farms and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station.