Day 468 of the Invasion of Ukraine: State of Emergency has been declared in Nova Kakhovka after the Explosion of the Dam WallUkraine | June 6, 2023, Tuesday // 08:00| views
Day 468 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- A state of emergency has been declared in Nova Kakhovka after the explosion of the dam wall
- Kyiv wants a meeting of the UN Security Council and new sanctions over the explosion at the dam
- IAEA: There is no immediate threat to the Zaporizhzhia NPP after the dam wall explosion
- Parts of the Nova Kakhovka dam in Ukraine have been destroyed, flooding has begun in the territories along the Dnieper River
- There is no immediate danger to the Zaporizhzhia NPP after the collapse of the wall of the Nova Kakhovka dam
- Zelensky convenes an extraordinary meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine due to the explosion of the Nova Kakhovka dam
- Another air attack against Kyiv
A state of emergency has been declared in Nova Kakhovka after the explosion of the dam wall
A state of emergency has been declared in the area of Nova Kakhovka in the Russian-controlled part of Kherson region after the breach of the dam wall in the city, the Russian state news agency TASS reported, citing a decree of the local Moscow-backed authorities, "Reuters" reported.
Russian emergency services said about 600 houses were flooded, and the Russian-appointed mayor said the town of Nova Kakhovka was under water.
Russia has been controlling the dam and the entire Kakhovka HPP for more than a year. It is physically impossible to blow it up somehow from the outside, by shelling. It was mined by the Russian occupiers. And they blew it up.— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) June 6, 2023
Russia has detonated a bomb of mass environmental… pic.twitter.com/ki7TAsIsNZ
What does Ukraine say?
The spokesman for Ukraine's Southern Military Command said Russia blew up the dam to prevent Ukrainian forces from crossing the Dnieper River, Reuters reported.
"It's a hysterical reaction," spokeswoman Natalia Khumeniuk told an online briefing. "They were aware that the movement of the (Ukrainian) defense forces was going to take place, and thus they tried to influence the defense forces so that the feared Dnieper crossing doesn't happen."
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russian forces blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant in southern Ukraine at night from inside the facility, Reuters reported.
"Tonight, at 02:50 a.m., Russian terrorists blew up the facilities of the Kakhovka HPP. About 80 settlements are in the flood zone," he said on "Telegram".
Zelensky also commented that he called an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, the Guardian reported.
"It is ordered to carry out an evacuation from the risk areas and to provide drinking water for all towns and villages that are supplied with water from the Kakhovka reservoir", he specified. "We are doing everything to save people. All services, military, government are involved," he added.
At the meeting, a set of international and security measures was agreed upon to hold Russia accountable for this terrorist attack, Zelensky also said.
According to Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the destruction of the dam is a fundamentally new stage of Russian aggression.
Danilov commented that Russia has gone from trying to justify its invasion of Ukraine with what he called propaganda myths to openly declaring its true goals -- to "destroy Ukraine, kill Ukrainians, destroy the economy" and civilian "life support structures".
Russia denies attacking civilians.
Serhiy Naev, commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said the destruction of the dam would not prevent Ukrainian troops from advancing.
"As for the prevention of our offensive actions, the military command has fully taken into account such insidious actions of the enemy and they should not hinder our advance in those directions where there may be a spill of water," Naev stressed, quoted by the state news agency Ukrinform agency and Reuters.
What does Russia say?
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Ukraine had sabotaged the dam to distract from its faltering counteroffensive, and rejected Kyiv's claim that Moscow blew it up. Peskov noted that President Vladimir Putin was informed about the situation around the dam.
"We can state unequivocally that this is deliberate sabotage from the Ukrainian side," Peskov told reporters.
He added that the destruction of the dam is intended to deprive Russian-controlled Crimea of the fresh water it receives through the North Crimean Canal and distract from the counteroffensive.
"Obviously, this sabotage is also related to the fact that after launching a large-scale offensive two days ago, now the Ukrainian armed forces are not achieving their goals - these offensives are faltering."
Asked about Ukrainian accusations that Russia destroyed the dam, Peskov replied: "We can categorically reject that. We officially state that here we are definitely talking about deliberate sabotage on the Ukrainian side."
According to Peskov, the sabotage could "potentially have very serious consequences for several tens of thousands of residents of the region".
The Russian-appointed governor of Kherson region also said Ktiv struck the Nova Kakhovka dam to distract from what he said were the "failures of the counteroffensive in the east of the country".
In a video posted on Telegram, Vladimir Saldo said no major evacuation would be necessary as a result of the dam breach.
TASS quoted an emergency service as saying that Ukraine hit the region with Storm Shadow missiles that were delivered to Kyiv from Britain.
Ukraine's prosecutor general's office said the country was investigating the blast as a war crime and possible criminal environmental destruction, or "ecocide."
Prosecutors said in comments emailed to Reuters that they had launched "urgent investigations" into the dam's demolition.
Ukraine is one of the few countries, including Russia, that have criminalized "ecocide" through domestic legislation.
Kyiv defines ecocide as "mass destruction of flora and fauna, poisoning of air or water resources, as well as any other actions that may cause ecological catastrophe" in Article 441 of its penal code.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said that Russia should be held responsible for the partial destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam in Ukraine, calling it a "war crime", reported AFP, quoted by BTA.
"I am shocked by the unprecedented attack on the Nova Kakhovka dam," tweeted Charles Michel. "The destruction of civilian infrastructure is a war crime and we will hold Russia and its proxies accountable," he added.
"My thoughts are with all the families in Ukraine affected by this disaster," Michel said, adding that he would offer aid to the flooded areas at the next summit of the leaders of the 27 European Union member states, scheduled for the end of the month in Brussels.
"The destruction of a dam wall in Nova Kakhovka shows the brutality of Russia's war in Ukraine", said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, quoted by Reuters.
"Demolition of the Kakhovka dam wall today puts thousands of civilians at risk and causes severe environmental damage," Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter. "This is an outrageous act that once again shows the brutality of the Russian war in Ukraine," he added.
British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Secretary James Cleverly said it was too early to give a meaningful assessment of the details surrounding the destruction of the dam in southern Ukraine, but he said it was only because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"I have heard reports of the dam exploding and the risk of flooding. It is too early to make any meaningful assessment of the details," Cleverly told Reuters during a visit to Kyiv after his talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday.
"But it's worth remembering that the only reason this became a moot point at all was because of Russia's unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine," Cleverley added.
"We will continue to assess the development of the situation, but the best thing Russia can do now is to withdraw its troops immediately," he said.
The destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam comes amid escalating violence in Ukraine and is in line with Russian President Vladimir Putin's strategy of targeting civilian targets, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said. "For this reason, this is something that has a new dimension, but it fits the way Putin is conducting this war," he added in an interview with VDR, BTA reported.
"For this reason, it is even more important that Germany continues to support Ukraine as much as necessary", he added. The chancellor emphasized that Berlin is following with concern the situation around the Zaporizhzhia NPP after the destruction of the dam that supplied water to the power plant.
Why is the dam important?
The Nova Kakhovka dam, located in the Russian-occupied areas of Kherson region in southern Ukraine, was partially destroyed today, with Moscow and Kyiv blaming each other for its destruction.
This dam, seized by Russian forces at the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, notably makes possible the water supply to the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Moscow in 2014.
Built on the Dnieper River in 1956, during the Soviet period, the facility is one of the largest infrastructure facilities of its type in Ukraine, AFP said.
The Guardian notes that the areas most at risk of flooding are the islands along the Dnieper River and much of the Russian-controlled left bank in southern Kherson.
Earlier modeling of such a disaster showed that the city of Kherson would not bear the brunt of the flooding, but the port, docks and an island in the south of the city would likely be flooded. It is not clear how many people will lose their homes.
Kyiv wants a meeting of the UN Security Council and new sanctions over the explosion at the dam
Ukraine has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss what it called a "Russian terrorist attack" on the Nova Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine, Reuters reported.
It also said it wanted the UN nuclear watchdog's governing board to discuss the incident and called for new international sanctions against Russia, specifically against Russia's missile industry and nuclear sector.
Ukrainian and Russian officials blamed each other for the breach in the Russian-controlled dam, which prompted the evacuation of people living nearby.
"We consider the Russian Federation's detonation of the dam ... a terrorist act against Ukrainian critical infrastructure aimed at causing as many civilian casualties and (as much) destruction as possible," Ukraine's foreign ministry said in a statement.
"The terrorist attack on the Kakhovka HPP was previously intensively discussed at the level of occupation forces in Kherson region (Southern Ukraine) and propagandists on Russian television, indicating that it was pre-planned."
The ministry is calling on the international community to condemn Russia for the incident and says Moscow must pay compensation for the consequences.
"We also call on the countries of the Group of Seven and the EU to urgently consider the imposition of new wide-ranging sanctions against the Russian Federation, in particular related to the Russian missile industry and the nuclear sector," the statement added.
It noted that the list of actions drawn up by the ministry "includes the convening by Ukraine of an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council and bringing the issue of the Russian terrorist attack to the meeting of the Board of Governors of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)".
It also called for the engagement of the Civil Protection Mechanism of the European Union. A country can request assistance through the mechanism when faced with an emergency situation.
Meanwhile, the Russian-appointed administration of the Kherson region announced that it was preparing to evacuate three districts. In a statement on Telegram, the administration said evacuations were being prepared in the Nova Kakhovka, Golo Pristan and Oleshki areas.
Russia's Investigative Committee, which investigates serious crimes, said it had opened a criminal investigation.
IAEA: There is no immediate threat to the Zaporizhzhia NPP after the dam wall explosion
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said there was no "immediate risk to the nuclear safety" of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after an explosion on part of the wall at Nova Kakhovka in southern Ukraine earlier on Tuesday disrupted its cooling.
The IAEA is aware of reports of damage at #Ukraine’s Kakhovka dam; IAEA experts at #Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant are closely monitoring the situation; no immediate nuclear safety risk at plant.#ZNPP— IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency ⚛️ (@iaeaorg) June 6, 2023
Russia's state-run nuclear power corporation Rosatom also said the breach in a dam in southern Ukraine did not pose a threat to the Moscow-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant for now, Reuters reported.
Yuri Chernichuk, director of the Russian-controlled power plant, said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app that the situation at the nuclear plant was stable.
"At the moment, there are no threats to the safety of the Zaporizhzhia NPP. Five units are in a 'cold shutdown' state, 1 - in a 'warm shutdown' state. The water level in the cooling pool has not changed and is 16.67 meters," he pointed out.
Chernichuk said the water cooling of the facility's spent nuclear fuel storage pools is in a closed loop and does not have direct contact with water coming from the Nova Kakhovka Dam, nor does the heat removal system depend on water from the tank, which can be supplemented with water from "several alternative sources".
Ukraine's state-run Atomic Energy Agency said earlier on Tuesday that the situation at the plant was under control, but that the rapidly declining reservoir level posed an "additional threat" to Europe's largest nuclear power plant.
Parts the Nova Kakhovka dam in Ukraine been destroyed, flooding has begun in the territories along the Dnieper River
The wall of the large Nova Kakhovka dam in the Russian-controlled part of Kherson region in Ukraine has been destroyed and the territory along the Dnieper river is being flooded, TASS reported, citing an unnamed source.
According to the source, the night was calm and there were no airstrikes on the dam through it.
Recent footage of the Nova Kakhovka dam.— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) June 6, 2023
Another state news agency, RIA Novosti, reported, citing the Moscow-appointed mayor of Nova Kakhovka, that the upper part of the wall had been destroyed by shelling.
The data cannot be independently verified.
The enormous Kakhovka dam, which spans frontlines across the Dnipro river in southern Ukraine, has been blown up.— max seddon (@maxseddon) June 6, 2023
The flooding could submerge areas downstream, putting parts of Kherson (controlled by Ukraine) and the nearby Zaporizhzhiya power plant (held by Russia) at risk. pic.twitter.com/wqDxzij0ns
The demolition of the wall was also confirmed by the operational command "South" of the Ukrainian army, quoted by the UNIAN agency. Kyiv’s armed forces blamed Russian troops for blowing up the dam, adding that the extent of the damage, the speed and volumes of water flowing out, and the areas of possible flooding were being investigated.
New photo of the Nova Kakhovka dam. The flooding may be immense. pic.twitter.com/aeMYMzSEs1— Faytuks News Δ (@Faytuks) June 6, 2023
There is no immediate danger to the Zaporizhzhia NPP after the collapse of the wall of the Nova Kakhovka dam
The collapse of the wall of the Nova Kakhovka dam in Ukraine does not pose any "critical danger" to the Zaporizhzhia NPP, TASS reported, citing a representative of the Russian-appointed authorities in the Zaporizhzhia region.
In the Kyiv-controlled part of the Kherson region, the evacuation of the population from the area of the dam began. Ukrainian authorities there said that "the water will reach critical levels within five hours," Reuters pointed out.
Meanwhile, TASS reported, citing emergency response services, that about 80 villages will be affected by the dam's collapse.
Zelensky convenes an extraordinary meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine due to the explosion of the Nova Kakhovka dam
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is convening an emergency meeting of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) due to the explosion of the Nova Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine, the secretary of the council Oleksiy Danilov announced on Twitter, as quoted by Reuters.
Russia's demolition of the Nova Kakhovka dam wall is "ecocide," but national and regional authorities are working to ensure the safety of local residents, Ukrainian presidential administration chief Andriy Yermak wrote on the Telegram social network.
He added that Russian actions also pose a threat to the nearby Zaporizhzhia NPP, without elaborating.
Another air attack against Kyiv
Ukraine reported an air alert across the country overnight and explosions in Kyiv. An inspection showed that almost half of the shelters in the capital are not working.
Russian forces claim to have repelled a Ukrainian offensive in the Donetsk region.
A Ukrainian representative said that a Russian air attack on Kyiv overnight had been repulsed. The anti-aircraft defense shot down over 20 cruise missiles. Mayor Vitali Klitschko confirmed the problems with the bomb shelters. An investigation is underway into how the more than million allocated for the purpose over two years was used. A commission found that 45 percent of 1,850 shelters were inaccessible. According to the Minister of Strategic Industry of Ukraine Oleksandr Kamyshin - 32% were deemed unfit for use and another 13% were closed
The Ukrainian counteroffensive has not yet begun - this is how the military command responded to Russian statements about thwarting another major offensive in Donetsk.
President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the Ukrainian soldiers fighting around Bakhmut. He stated that the expected news had started coming from the area, without clarifying what.
"I am grateful to every soldier, to every one of our defenders - men and women, from whom we received the news we were waiting for. Good job, soldiers in the Bakhmut sector. Russia reacted hysterically to any action taken by Ukrainian forces. The enemy knows that Ukraine will win."
Since the Russian invasion in April last year, more than 8,500,000 people have gone abroad, according to a study by the Ukrainian Institute for the Future. As of May, the country's population has shrunk to 29 million people, of whom only one-third are working. The consequences of the war are also felt in the economic condition of Ukrainians, seven million of whom live below the poverty line.
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