Ukraine evacuates thousands after key dam destroyed

Tuesday’s strike on a significant Russian-controlled dam in southern Ukraine released a torrent of water that swamped two dozen communities and drove 17,000 people to flee, raising concerns of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Washington issued a “likely many deaths” warning as Moscow and Kyiv traded accusations for tearing a big hole in the Kakhovka dam, which is situated on the front lines and provides cooling water for Europe’s largest nuclear facility.

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Ukraine’s leader emphasized that the long-awaited offensive would not be hampered by Moscow’s attempt to destroy the dam, which Moscow had captured in the early stages of the conflict.

Following demands from Russia and Ukraine, a special UN Security Council meeting was arranged for late Tuesday, according to diplomatic sources.

On both sides of the frontline, hundreds of thousands of people might be impacted, the UN said.

The largest adjacent city, Kherson, saw people leaving for higher ground as water flowed into the Dnipro River.

“There is shooting, now there is flooding,” said Lyudmyla, who had loaded a washing machine onto a cart attached to an old Soviet car.

“Everything is going to die here,” added Sergiy as water from the dam poured into the city, which was the scene of heavy fighting in 2022.

Ukrainian authorities said 17,000 people were being evacuated and a total of 24 villages had been flooded.

“Over 40,000 people are in danger of being flooded,” Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said, adding that 25,000 more people should be evacuated on the Russian-occupied side of the Dnipro River.

The mayor of Nova Kakhovka, where the dam is located, Vladimir Leontyev, who was appointed by Moscow, claimed that the city was under water and that hundreds of residents had been evacuated.

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