Thursday, June 20, 2024

Live Update: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 470

Russia, wary of NATO’s eastward expansion, began a military campaign in Ukraine in February 2022 after the Western-leaning Kiev government turned a deaf ear to Moscow’s calls for its neighbor to maintain its neutrality. In the middle of the mayhem, Moscow and Kiev are trying to hammer out a peaceful solution to the conflict. Follow the latest about the Russia-Ukraine conflict here:

Ukrainian drones attacked two settlements in Belgorod: Governor

The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region stated Ukrainian drones had attacked two settlements in the border region.

On Telegram, Vyacheslav Gladkov said, “As a result of the UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] attack in the village of Vyazovoe, there is one victim. A man grazed cattle on the outskirts of the village, as a result of an uncontrolled fall of a drone, he received shrapnel wounds to his upper and lower extremities and chest. The victim independently arrived at the Krasnoyarzhskaya Central District Hospital, all the necessary medical assistance was provided.”

The Russian border region has come under repeated attacks in recent weeks.

Russian forces shelling “places of evacuation” in Kherson city: Ukrainian officials

Russian forces are shelling “places of evacuation” in Kherson city, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The ministry said three people have been injured in the shelling: “a civilian woman, a police officer and a rescuer.”

“All are being provided with the necessary assistance. The shelling began during the evacuation of citizens whose homes were flooded,” the ministry said in a Telegram post on Thursday.

“Russia has left people in trouble in the occupied part of Kherson region. And it continues to prevent Ukraine from saving the most valuable – human lives,” it added.

Both Russia and Ukraine are accusing each other of shelling as evacuations continue in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region following the Nova Kakhovka dam collapse.

1 person has died in flooding in Ukrainian-held Mykolaiv region

A 53-year-old man has died after refusing to be evacuated from floodwaters in the Ukrainian-held Mykolaiv region, police said on Telegram.

“Due to the occupiers’ blowing up of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, the territories of Snihurivka, Shyroke and Horokhivske communities in Mykolaiv region are flooded. So far, we have one victim – a 53-year-old man from the village of Vasylivka who refused to be evacuated yesterday,” said Serhii Shaikhet, the regional police chief.

Shaikhet urged people to evacuate flooded areas and said police were, “patrolling the area on boats to identify people in need of help.”

At least 1,854 people have been evacuated since Tuesday as rescue efforts to free people from their flooded homes in Ukrainian-controlled Kherson continued throughout Wednesday, Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs said.

The ministry added it was also looking for ways to evacuate citizens from the Russian occupied-eastern bank of the Dnipro River.

“We are trying to do it as quickly as possible. We are hampered by a strong current and shelling by the Russian military,” stated Internal Affairs Minister Ihor Klymenko.

Millions of Ukrainian crops could be lost due to flooding

Ukraine could lose several million tonnes of crops because of flooding due to the collapse of the Kakhovka dam, the Ukrainian agriculture ministry said.

“Without a source of water supply, it is impossible to grow vegetables. Grain and oilseeds will be grown using an extensive model with low yields,” the ministry said in a statement.

Earlier this week, the ministry noted the dam’s destruction would flood tens of thousands of hectares of land and could turn at least 500,000 hectares into “deserts”.

It added that the flooded land would require a full agroecological assessment of the soil condition.

Vegetables, melons, grains and oilseeds are the main products which were grown on the affected land.

Kremlin accuses Kyiv of shelling rescue workers

The Kremlin accuses Ukraine of shelling Russian rescue workers at the breached Kakhovka dam in Ukraine’s Kherson region.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said rescuers were working hard, but the Ukrainian military made their work more dangerous.

“The difficulty is that in a lot of places they (the rescuers) are forced to work in conditions of ongoing shelling from Ukraine, and this complicates their work,” Peskov told reporters.

Peskov’s comments come a day after Ukrainian officials on Wednesday accused Russian forces of shelling rescue workers on the Kyiv-held west bank of the Dnipro River.

Moscow controls the east bank.

Rescue workers face “extreme danger” amid continued Russian shelling during flood evacuation efforts

Russia continues to shell Ukrainian-held parts of the Kherson region as rescue workers try to evacuate people from the floods, local Ukrainian officials report.

“Over the past day, the enemy made 34 attacks in the region… including one artillery attack on Kherson city,” a post on Telegram by the Kherson regional military administration said on Thursday.

“There were no civilian casualties or injuries as a result of the shelling,” it added.

This comes after the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam and hydroelectric power plant early Tuesday prompting mass evacuations, flooding and fears for large-scale devastation across southern Ukraine.

Both Moscow and Kyiv blame each other for the breach.

According to Ukrainian officials on Telegram, “20 settlements are flooded in the liberated territories. 2,629 residential buildings are under water, and 971 more homes were flooded yesterday.”

“Despite the extreme danger and constant Russian shelling, evacuations from the flooded area continue. As of 6a.m local time (11p.m E.T), 1,999 people have left the danger zone. Most people were evacuated from the Korabel microdistrict in Kherson city,” Ukrainian officials said.

Ukrainian police said on Telegram that they are, “patrolling the flooded streets of the regional center, villages and towns to prevent looting and identify those citizens who may be trapped in the water.”

Kremlin hints at US, UK involvement in Nord Stream blasts

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia had already spoken about the possible involvement of “Anglo-Saxons”, what the Kremlin refers to the United States and Britain as, in what he described as a “terror attack” on the Nord Stream pipelines.

Peskov reiterated that Russia wanted to see a proper investigation into the Nord Stream blasts.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that the CIA learned last June through a European spy agency that a six-person team of Ukrainian special operations forces intended to blow up the pipelines.

Ukrainian troops trying to push through Russian lines in Zaporizhzhia: Kremlin-backed official

Ukraine’s frontline troops are trying to break through Russian lines in the south of the country, a Kremlin-appointed official in the Russian-occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia region has told state news agency RIA Novosti.

Vladimir Rogov said Ukraine’s armed forces were trying to advance but had not yet had any success, according to RIA.

In a series of posts on Telegram on Thursday morning, Rogov stated the Ukrainians had been, “hitting the positions of our guys for many hours with artillery and HIMARS.”

He added the assault was aimed at forcing Russian troops to “flee” their positions.

Ukrainian officials have been tight-lipped about Kyiv’s plans for its long-anticipated counter-offensive, though there have been signs in recent weeks that the effort is nearing.

Ivan Fedorov, the Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol put a cryptic message on his Telegram channel on Thursday.

“The weather for the Russo-fascists in the Zaporizhzhia direction is hot summer days and nights in the still occupied Tokmak,” Fedorov stated, adding, “The occupiers did not sleep today until two in the morning.”

Zelensky visits Kherson after Nova Kakhovka dam collapse

President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the flooded southern region of Kherson and discussed the situation after the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam on Tuesday.

“Many important issues were discussed. The operational situation in the region as a result of the disaster, evacuation of the population from potential flood zones, elimination of the emergency caused by the dam explosion, organization of life support for the flooded areas,” he said on his Telegram channel.

“Also, the prospects for restoring the region’s ecosystem and the operational military situation in the man-made disaster area,” he added.

The president stated it is important to allocate funds to compensate residents in the area who have been affected by the flooding.

3 people believed drowned in Russian-occupied town of Oleshky

At least three people have drowned in the Russian-occupied town of Oleshky after waters unleashed by the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam flooded “about 90%” of the area, the town’s exiled Ukrainian mayor told CNN.

Yevhen Ryshchuk said, “three people drowned there. We do not know how many more dead people there will be. I think there might be many more.”

Between 3,500 and 4,000 people still lived in Oleshky, including “many pensioners and bedridden people,” Ryshchuk added.

Rescuers are now trying to evacuate thousands of people in the flood zone, while many have climbed onto the roof of their house to escape the floods.

“Not everyone had the opportunity to climb to the roof from inside the house,” when the floodwaters arrived, while others, “have been sitting on the roofs for two days,” Ryshchuk continued.

This comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Russian forces have been shooting at rescuers trying to reach flooded areas in occupied parts of the Kherson region.

Meanwhile, in villages around Oleshky the situation is more complicated as “villages like Pravi Solontsi, for example, are 100% flooded. No one was allowed to go there… How could people be rescued?” Ryshchuk told CNN.

Zelensky denies involvement in Nord Stream blasts

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has denied his government’s involvement in sabotaging the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in comments to the German publishing group Axel Springer.

“I am the president and I give orders accordingly. Nothing of the sort has been done by Ukraine. I would never act that way,” Zelensky said, asking for proof of Ukrainian involvement.

Zelensky’s remarks were in response to an article that appeared on Tuesday in The Washington Post, which reported that the United States government learned from a European intelligence agency of a secret plan by Ukraine’s military to attack the pipelines three months before the September 2022 explosions.

According to The Washington Post, the US government shared the information with the intelligence services of Germany and other countries.

The explosions are widely believed to have been an act of sabotage, although it remains unclear who carried out the attack.

At least five people reported dead after dam breach

The Kremlin-installed mayor of Nova Kakhovka said on Russian state TV that five of seven local residents who had been declared missing following the dam collapse have died.

The two remaining people have been found, and efforts were being made to evacuate them, Vladimir Leontyev added.

Since the breach, at least 4,000 people have been evacuated from both the Russian and Ukrainian-controlled sides of the Dnieper River.

The extent of the ecological and humanitarian impact of the destroyed dam is yet to emerge.

NATO members could individually deploy troops: Former alliance chief

According to the former NATO chief, some member states might consider deploying troops to Ukraine if other members of the alliance do not offer significant security assurances to Kyiv.

“If NATO cannot agree on a clear path forward for Ukraine, there is a clear possibility that some countries individually might take action,” former Secretary-General, and current advisor to the Ukrainian president, Anders Rasmussen told The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday.

Ahead of the Lithuania summit in July, Rasmussen has been stressing the importance of providing Ukraine with written security assurances, including intelligence sharing, training support, ammunition production, and ongoing arms supplies.

Rasmussen added while these guarantees are crucial, they should not overshadow Ukraine’s primary focus on its path towards NATO membership.

600 square kilometers of Kherson region is flooded: Regional commander

At least 600 square kilometers (232 square miles) of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region has been flooded following the Nova Kakhovka dam collapse on Tuesday, according to a regional military commander.

Floodwaters have risen to an average level of 5.61 meters, Oleksandr Prokudin, head of the Kherson regional military administration, said in a statement on Telegram.

The collapse of the dam and hydro-electric plant sent torrents of water gushing down the Dnipro River.

The east bank, which sits lower than the west, suffered the worst of the flooding. Of the whole flooded area, 68% was on the east bank and 32% on the west, Prokudin said.

Nearly 2,000 people have now been evacuated from the “danger zone” and were being housed and fed in temporary aid shelters, Prokudin added.

“Despite the extreme danger and constant Russian shelling, evacuations from the flooded area continue,” he continued, noting, “The situation on the eastern bank is extremely difficult. People are suffering not only from the high water, but also from Russian terror and the occupiers’ unwillingness to help people.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday that Russian forces have been shooting at rescuers trying to reach flooded areas that are under Russian control.

“When our forces try to get them [the residents] out, they are shot at by occupiers from a distance,” he told German outlet Bild.

Russia warns against arming Ukraine with nuclear weapons

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova says if the West supplies Ukraine with nuclear weapons, it would lead to the end of humanity.

“If they want a global, irrevocable collapse, then they will do it [deliver nuclear weapons to Ukraine]. You can see what’s going on. The Kyiv regime is ready to destroy its own land … They are ready to infect it with depleted uranium, flood it with water, poison it with ammonia,” she stated.

Zakharova noted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his team are turning into “an international terrorist organisation”.

“This is a real terrorist cell, and an international one, because there are foreign instructors, foreign mercenaries, they are associated with the black market of weapons, illegal trafficking of money, people, illegal sales of body parts – the whole set that characterises international terrorism,” she added.

Zelensky calls for swift humanitarian response from international community after dam collapse

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the situation in the occupied part of the Kherson region as “catastrophic” as water levels on Wednesday continued to rise after the Nova Kakhovka dam and hydro-electric power plant collapsed early Tuesday.

“Today, we have been focusing all day on the consequences of the Russian terrorist attack on the (Nova) Kakhovka hydro-electric power plant. Dozens of settlements on the territory under our control have been flooded. Thousands of houses have been flooded!” Zelensky said during his nightly address.

“The situation in the occupied part of the Kherson region is absolutely catastrophic. The occupiers simply abandoned people in these terrible conditions. Without rescue, without water, just on the roofs of houses in flooded communities,” he added.

Zelensky called for a “clear and swift” humanitarian response from the international community, saying it’s difficult to know “how many people in the temporarily occupied territory of Kherson region may die without rescue, without drinking water, without food, without medical care.”

He said Ukraine’s military and emergency services “are rescuing as many people as possible,” despite Russian shelling.

“But more efforts are needed. We need international organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, to immediately join the rescue operation and help people in the occupied part of Kherson region,” Zelensky added.

The Ukrainian president expressed his frustration saying, “Unfortunately, the world’s attention was not enough.”

Ukraine accuses Russian forces of shooting at rescuers in flooded areas

During an exclusive interview with a German outlet, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russian forces of shooting at Ukrainian rescuers who are trying to reach flooded areas in the Kherson region that is under Russian control.

“People, animals have died. From the roofs of the flooded houses, people see drowned people floating by. You can see that on the other side. It is very difficult to get people out of the occupied part of Kherson region,” Zelensky told prominent German outlet, Bild, in an exclusive interview published Wednesday.

“When our forces try to get them [the residents] out, they are shot at by occupiers from a distance,” Zelensky said, adding, “As soon as our helpers try to rescue them, they are shot at. We won’t be able to see all the consequences until a few days from now, when the water has trickled down a bit.”

Nova Kakhovka, a major dam and hydroelectric power plant in the Russian-occupied southern Kherson region, suffered a collapse early Tuesday, prompting evacuations for thousands of people.

Russia and Ukraine continue to blame each other for the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam and hydro-electric power plant.

NATO to meet on destruction of dam: Alliance’s chief

Jens Stoltenberg says he will chair a meeting on Thursday of an emergency coordination panel with Ukraine on the “outrageous destruction” of a front-line dam.

The wrecking of the Kakhovka dam in the southern region of Kherson unleashed waters “displacing thousands of people and causing an ecological catastrophe in Ukraine,” the NATO chief said in a tweet.

He added that Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba would participate by video link in Thursday’s meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission.

Kuleba tweeted that the meeting was called at his request and said Stoltenberg had promised “NATO mechanisms will be used to provide humanitarian assistance”.

Kakhovka dam breach will impact locating landmines: Red Cross

The breach of the Nova Kakhovka dam in Ukraine will have a catastrophic effect on locating landmines in the affected region, the Red Cross warns.

“We knew where the hazards were,” said Erik Tollefsen, head of the Weapon Contamination Unit at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“Now we don’t know,” Tollefsen continued, adding, “All we know is that they are somewhere downstream.”

“This is a major concern because it will affect not just the population but also all of those that are coming in to help,” he added.

The ICRC had spent several months helping mine clearance operations in Ukraine, mapping and marking minefields, and providing training and equipment, Tollefsen said, noting, “Now all of that has been washed away.”

Biden will host NATO’s secretary general at the White House Monday

President Joe Biden will welcome NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to the White House next Monday “to discuss the upcoming NATO summit,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday, confirming a statement from NATO earlier today.

Biden and Stoltenberg “will review preparations for the summit, including the work to further strengthen allied deterrence and defense, build on the 2014 Wales Summit Defense Investment Pledge, and deepen NATO’s partnership,” she said. They will also discuss support for Ukraine “in the face of Russia’s brutal war of aggression.”

Stoltenberg’s visit comes just one week after Biden hosted Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, who is widely viewed as a potential contender to replace Stoltenberg, at the White House.

Biden is scheduled to attend the NATO summit in Lithuania in July.

Ukrainian prime minister appeals to UN and Red Cross to evacuate residents from Russian-occupied flood areas

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal appealed Wednesday to leading international aid organizations to help evacuate residents in the flooded areas of the Russian-occupied Kherson region.

He claimed occupying Russian forces have offered “no help” following a devastating dam breach.

Shmyhal addressed leaders of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in a video message posted on Twitter, urging them to “act immediately”.

“We appeal to you to take charge of evacuating people from the territories of Kherson oblast, occupied by Russia,” he added.

Shmyhal said residents in occupied areas of the Kherson region “have been abandoned by the Russians” and “left to perish” as homes “vanish beneath the water.”

UN humanitarian officials visited Kherson on Wednesday to “coordinate the humanitarian response” alongside local organizations and authorities, the body’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a news release.

“They said the disaster will likely get worse in the coming hours, with water levels still rising and more villages and towns being flooded,” the UN announced, adding, “This will impact people’s access to essential services and raises serious health risks.”

Kyiv and Moscow have blamed each other for the breach, which occurred in territory occupied by Russia. The cause remains unclear.

Ukraine launches “ecocide” and war crimes probe into Nova Kakhovka dam incident

Ukraine is investigating the Nova Kakhovka dam incident as a war crime and as possible “ecocide,” or criminal environmental destruction, a statement from the Prosecutor General’s Office said Wednesday.

“The legal classification is ecocide and violation of the laws and customs of war… A specially created interagency and interregional group of investigators from the Security Service of Ukraine and the National Police is working on the investigation,” the statement said.

Prosecutor General Andrii Kostin informed the Chinese ambassador to Ukraine, Fan Xianrong, of the proceedings in a meeting on Wednesday.

“Ukraine has initiated proceedings over this crime, qualifying it as a violation of the laws and customs of war and ecocide. It has caused severe long-term damage to people and the environment,” Kostin told him, according to a readout from the Prosecutor General’s Office.

“The consequences are catastrophic. More than 40,000 people have been affected. Homes and infrastructure have been destroyed, land has become unsuitable for agriculture, and water supply has been disrupted in a number of regions, both in the government-controlled areas and in the territories temporarily occupied by Russia,” the readout added.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine said Wednesday that the collapse of the dam was the largest act of ecocide that Russia has committed since the beginning of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Kyiv and Moscow have blamed each other for the breach, which occurred in territory occupied by Russia. The cause remains unclear.

Ukrainian FM tells NATO chief Kyiv is seeking the best guarantee to avert future wars

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Wednesday he held a call with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the upcoming NATO summit in July.

“By all accounts, it makes sense for Allies to take a decisive step toward Ukraine’s membership. We are not seeking NATO troops on the ground to end this war. We are seeking the best guarantee to avert future wars,” he tweeted after the call.

Last week, Stoltenberg reiterated previous remarks that all NATO allies “agree that Ukraine will become a member of the alliance,” it is just a matter of when.

Last month, the NATO chief said that he expects Ukraine will join the alliance when the war is over.

Russians have done “more damage to themselves” with dam collapse: Ukrainian deputy DM

Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said with the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam “the Russians have actually done more damage to themselves and their armed forces.”

Mailar added the incident has damaged Russian fortifications and military positions.

Speaking on national TV, Mailar stated: “Basically, the territory that is now under the control of the aggressor will be more affected.”

“The territories of their military units are also flooded. And there is a problem with mines there now, because mines have floated away. The situation is absolutely uncontrollable now,” she continued.

“Yesterday, the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that their actions and plans would not be affected,” she added.

US ambassador to China hopes Beijing makes “the right choice” to push Russia to end war in Ukraine

US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns expressed hope Wednesday that China “will make the right choice” on pushing Russia to end the war in Ukraine.

“We hope very much that they will make the right choice, but the right choice for China is going to push Russia to adhere to international law, withdraw its troops and see the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine restored,” Burns said virtually at an event from the US Global Leadership Coalition on Wednesday.

“That’s what the world wants and expects. I think the jury’s out. I can’t predict what the government of the People’s Republic will do. But that’s what we’re obviously standing for, and they know our position,” he added.

Burns stated that he recently met with the Chinese envoy who traveled to Ukraine, Li Hui.

China has refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine or call for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine’s territory.

A vaguely worded 12-point position paper on China’s vision for the “political settlement” of the conflict, released earlier this year, said the “legitimate security concerns” of “all countries” should be be addressed. It also said the “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity” of all countries must be upheld.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to travel to China in the coming weeks, two US officials and a source familiar with the matter told CNN. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday that US President Joe Biden will “at some point” meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping as well.

Turkish president calls Zelensky and Putin to propose a commission to investigate dam collapse

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan proposed in separate phone calls Wednesday to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin to establish an international commission to investigate the dam damage in the Kherson region.

President Erdogan stated in both calls that an international commission could be established with the participation of experts from the warring parties, the United Nations, and the international community, including Turkey, for a detailed investigation into the “explosion” at the Nova Kakhovka dam, according to a statement made by the Turkish presidency’s Directorate of Communications.

During the separate calls with both leaders, President Erdogan stated that it is important to carry out a comprehensive investigation “that leaves no room for suspicion.”

On the call with Erdogan, Putin accused Ukraine of committing terrorist acts.

“A clear example of this is the barbaric action to destroy the [Kakhovka] hydroelectric power station in the Kherson region, which led to a large-scale environmental and humanitarian catastrophe,” according to a Kremlin readout of the call.

Kyiv and Moscow have blamed each other for the dam breach, which occurred in territory occupied by Russia. The cause remains unclear.

A major dam and hydroelectric power plant in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine was destroyed early Tuesday, prompting mass evacuations and fears for large-scale devastation as Kyiv and Moscow blamed each other. Ukraine accused Moscow’s forces of committing an act of “ecocide.” The Kremlin denied involvement and accused Ukraine of “deliberate sabotage” of the dam.

The dam is a critical piece of infrastructure. It supplies water for much of southeastern Ukraine, including the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, and the Crimean peninsula.

Thousands of hectares on both banks of Dnipro are expected to flood: Ukraine

Ten thousand hectares of agricultural land are expected to flood after the Nova Kakhovka dam collapsed, according to the Ukrainian Agricultural Ministry.

The figure only accounts for the Ukraine-controlled part of the area, which is the right side of the bank, the ministry said, adding that it would be “several times more on the left bank.”

The collapse could turn fields in southern Ukraine “into deserts,” the ministry added.

The following areas are “without a source of water” after the collapse, according to the ministry:

  • 94% of irrigation systems in Kherson
  • 74% in Zaporizhzhia
  • 30% Dnipropetrovsk regions

6,000 people evacuated on both sides of Dnipro River: Ukrainian officials

Almost 6,000 people have been evacuated on both sides of the Dnipro River after flooding caused by the destruction of the Russian-occupied Kakhovka dam in Ukraine, Ukrainian officials say.

The destruction of the dam near the front line flooded dozens of villages and parts of a nearby city, sparking fears of a humanitarian disaster.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said 30 settlements had been flooded, 10 of which are under Russian control.

Putin blames Ukraine for ‘barbaric act’ at Kakhovka dam

Russian President Vladimir Putin has told Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the Kakhovka dam blast was a “barbaric act” from Kyiv, Tass reports.

“Vladimir Putin stated that the Kyiv authorities, at the suggestion of their Western curators, are still banking on the escalation of hostilities, committing war crimes, openly using terrorist methods, and organising sabotage on Russian territory. A vivid example of this is the barbaric act to destroy the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station in the Kherson region, which led to a large-scale environmental and humanitarian disaster,” a statement from the Kremlin said.

Putin’s statement comes a day after the European Union blamed Russia for the explosion using similar words.

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