After the rupture of the dam at the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power plant in the district of Nova Kakhovka, a state of emergency was declared this Wednesday morning (7) in the entire region of Kherson.
The city of Nova Kakhovka, located about five kilometers from the hydroelectric plant, is practically completely flooded. According to Moscow-appointed mayor of Nova Kakhovka, Vladimir Leontiev, the water level in the city has risen by more than ten meters. In addition, the city of Alyoshki, which is located about 60 kilometers from New Kakhovka, is also almost covered with flooding. Several other cities and towns were partially flooded. Pro-Russian and Ukrainian authorities in the Kherson region announced an evacuation. The parties reported no casualties or deaths.
Kherson was one of the regions in eastern Ukraine annexed by Russia in October last year, but Ukrainian forces have regained significant control of the region. The territory is the scene of constant disputes between the two countries. In this way, part of the region affected by the rupture of the dam is controlled by Russia, another part is under the control of Ukraine.
According to estimates by the pro-Russian authorities who control the Kherson region, 14 settlements were located in the flood zone, where between 22,000 and 40,000 people live. According to the mayor of Nova Kakhovka, at least seven people disappeared in the city and several villages in the occupied territory were completely submerged.
Leontiev added that at least 100 people in the town of New Kakhovka were trapped and thousands of wild animals were killed after the dam collapsed.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said 80 settlements in the Khserson region were partially or completely flooded. About 1,300 local residents were evacuated.
Russia and Ukraine traded mutual accusations over responsibility for the dam’s destruction. Ukrainian authorities claim that the explosion of the hydroelectric power plant was carried out around 3:00 am, probably by soldiers of the armed forces of the Russian Federation. According to Ukrainian intelligence, the Russians carried out the main works in the mines in the spring of last year, shortly after taking control of the station.
Russia vehemently denies all allegations and says the destruction of the hydroelectric plant was “a deliberate sabotage on the Ukrainian side” carried out with missiles. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, one of the goals of the action would be to deprive Crimea of its water supply.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres declared last Tuesday (6) that at least 16,000 people lost their homes as a result of the destruction of the dam at the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric plant.
“Given the risk of [interrupções] in providing clean water, that number could rise by several thousand,” he told reporters.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone with both Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin and proposed the creation of an international commission to investigate the collapse of the hydroelectric dam.
Editing: Thales Schmidt