Floods after the destruction of the Kachowka Dam

As of: 6/6/2023 3:22 p.m

After the destruction of the Kachowka dam, there were severe floods: hundreds of houses were flooded, and a state of emergency was declared in the town of Nowa Kachowka. Chancellor Scholz spoke of a “new dimension” to the war.

In the Cherson region, which is partly occupied by Russia, there are severe floods after the collapse of the important Kakhovka dam. The Russian occupiers declared a state of emergency in the town of Nowa Kachowka, which is located directly on the dam. The water has already risen by 12 meters, said Mayor Vladimir Leontyev, appointed by Russia, on Russian state television. “The city is flooded.”

According to Leontiev, a total of 600 houses in three towns on the Russian-occupied side of the Dnipro River were affected by the severe flooding. He acknowledged that there could also be water supply problems on the annexed Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. This is supplied with water from the Kachowka reservoir.

Kachowka Dam blown up

floods and evacuations

Videos on the internet showed large masses of water pouring out of the wall. According to Ukrainian information, about 16,000 people live in the “critical zone” at the dam. Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal spoke of a risk of flooding for up to 80 towns. The destruction will lead to an environmental catastrophe. The World Data Center for Geoinformatics and Sustainable Development said the water masses would only drain off after about five to seven days.

The dam collapse was followed by flooding, and the warring parties blame each other.

Ukraine: 150 tons of machine oil in the Dnipro

According to the Ukrainian leadership, at least 150 tons of machine oil spilled into the Dnipro River. 300 more tons of oil threatened to leak, it said on the fringes of a meeting of the National Security Council. The governor of the Kherson administrative region, Olexander Prokudin, reported that eight villages were completely or partially flooded. Aerial photos from the Ukrainian-controlled regional capital of Kherson showed that many houses in the Korabel district near the river are under water.

The operator of the hydroelectric power plant Ukrhydroenerho announced that the plant was completely destroyed and could not be repaired. The Ukrainian military began evacuations on the right bank of the Dnipro River, where the Ukrainian-liberated regional capital, Kherson, is located. Russia controls the river’s left bank to the east, and Ukraine controls the right bank to the west.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), there is no immediate danger for the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. A spokesman for the Russian nuclear company Rosenergoatom also told the Interfax agency that the nuclear power plant on the Dnipro was not affected.

mutual finger pointing

The dam had been destroyed during the night. Kiev and Moscow accused each other of being responsible for the blast. Ukraine accused Russian invading forces of having blown up the dam. Russia attributed the destruction to Ukrainian shelling. The information provided by both sides could not initially be checked independently.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy blamed “Russian terrorists” for blowing up the dam. The State Department called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. The “Russian terror attack” had to be discussed there. The ministry also called for further sanctions against Russia, which should particularly affect the Russian missile industry and the nuclear sector.

The destroyed dam is about 80 kilometers north-east of Cherson. Territories occupied by Russia are hatched.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak wrote on Twitter that Russia apparently aims to create insurmountable obstacles to the planned major Ukrainian offensive. This is an attempt to delay the end of the war and a premeditated crime. Podoljak also spoke of a global environmental catastrophe. “Thousands of animals will be killed and ecosystems destroyed in the next few hours,” he said.

Russia denied the allegations and blamed Ukraine. “We officially declare that this is clearly a case of deliberate sabotage by the Ukrainian side, planned and carried out on the orders (…) of the Kiev regime,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

conflicting parties as a source

Information on the course of the war, shelling and casualties provided by official bodies of the Russian and Ukrainian conflict parties cannot be directly checked by an independent body in the current situation.

Scholz: “New Dimension” of War

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the destruction of the Kachowka dam a “new dimension” of the war. The damage to the dam is something “that fits with the way Putin is waging this war,” he said at the Europaforum WDR. It is a development “that we are looking at with care and concern”.

The Chancellor avoided clearly assigning blame to Russia – although he did point to signs of Russian responsibility. Russia has “now had to experience many setbacks,” said Scholz. Russia had “always drawn the conclusion from this that it should proceed with even greater aggression against Ukraine”.

The events surrounding the dam are something “that fits into many, many of the crimes that we saw in Ukraine that were committed by Russian soldiers.” Russia is engaged in “a warfare that has always also attacked civilian targets – towns, villages, hospitals, schools, infrastructure – which would not have anything to do with military warfare.”

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock blamed Russia for the floods. “There is only one person responsible for this man-made environmental catastrophe: Russia’s criminal war of aggression in Ukraine,” said the Greens politician. “With the Kachowka dam, a civilian dam near a nuclear power plant is being misused as a weapon of war and the lives of people in the area are being endangered.”

Ukraine has accused Russia of destroying a dam on the Dnieper in southern Ukraine.

Stoltenberg: “Outrageous act”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also condemned the destruction of the dam. The incident endangers thousands of civilians and causes serious environmental damage, he wrote on Twitter. “This is an outrageous act that once again demonstrates the brutality of Russia’s war in Ukraine.”

EU Council President Charles Michel was also dismayed. “Shocked by the unprecedented attack on Nowa-Kachowka Dam,” he wrote on Twitter. “The destruction of civilian infrastructure is clearly a war crime – and we will hold Russia and its proxies accountable.” He will raise the issue at the next EU summit at the end of June and propose more aid for the flooded areas.

Dam commissioned in the mid-1950s

Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine in February last year and then also occupied the Cherson region. Last fall, the Ukrainian army managed to liberate part of the region – including the regional capital of the same name, Cherson. However, towns south of the Dnipro remained under Russian control, including the dam town of Nowa Kakhovka.

The dam was commissioned in the mid-1950s. On the course of the Dnipro, it is the sixth and last barrage before the Black Sea. The system makes the flat stream navigable. It dams the water over a length of 200 kilometers between Zaporizhia and Nowa Kakhovka and holds around 18 billion cubic meters of water. Large regions in the south up to the Crimea were irrigated from the reservoir. In addition, electricity is generated with a hydroelectric power station, which, according to the operator, has an output of 334 megawatts.

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