Hundreds of people have been evacuated on Tuesday from settlements along Ukraine’s Dnipro River after water from breached Nova Kakhovka dam submerged several villages. Both Russia and Ukraine blamed each other for blowing up the dam, according to reports.
While many reports incline to Ukraine’s version, there is not much evidence to offer.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the dam breach is the “biggest man-made environmental disaster in Europe in decades”.
The World Data Center for Geoinformatics and Sustainable Development, a Ukrainian nongovernmental organisation, estimated that nearly 100 villages and towns would be flooded and the water level would start dropping only after five to seven days.
The moment that the Nova Kakhovka dam was blown up— Antonio Sabato Jr (@AntonioSabatoJr) June 6, 2023
Both sides warned of a looming environmental disaster. Ukraine’s Presidential Office said about 150 tonnes of oil escaped from the dam machinery and that another 300 tonnes could still leak out.
“It is physically impossible to blow it up somehow from the outside with shelling,” he said in a video address to a summit of European countries in the Bucharest Nine group.
“It was mined. It was mined by the Russian occupiers and blown up by them.”
The collapse of the dam at the southern tip of the Kakhovka Reservoir flooded the countryside. Footage posted on social media shows severe flooding in the Russian-controlled town of Nova Kakhovka, which is next to the dam.