Live: Zelenskyy slams Russia-backed forces after dam collapse

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia-backed forces are failing in their efforts to evacuate residents after the Nova Kakhovka dam collapsed, saying the provision of drinking water and resettlement should be prioritised.
  • About 42,000 people are at risk from flooding in Russian and Ukrainian-controlled areas along the Dnipro after the dam was destroyed early on Tuesday. The warring sides have traded blame over the incident.
  • Ukraine’s deputy defence minister says Kyiv’s troops have made marginal advances in parts of the Bakhmut front line, after Russia claimed victory over the eastern city last month.
  • Amid concerns over Ukraine’s bomb shelters, Zelenskyy says interim results of an inspection are “unfortunately” disappointing.

    Ukraine warns of the danger of floating mines after dam collapse

    A senior Ukrainian official warns of the danger posed by floating mines and the spread of disease and hazardous chemicals as he inspects the damage caused by the Kakhovka dam.

    Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said over 80 settlements had been affected in a disaster which Ukraine and Russia blame on each other.

    “They [Russia] did it in order to free up troops in this direction by flooding this bit of the frontline,” Kubrakov said.

    “Water is disturbing mines that were laid earlier, causing them to explode,” he told reporters, adding that infectious diseases and chemicals were getting into the water.

    Belgorod governor says Ukraine shelled town of Shebekino

    The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region says Ukraine shelled the town of Shebekino with Grad missiles, but there were no casualties.

    Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram, “More than 40 shells hit the territory of the industrial zone, [and] there is a fire. Another 20 shells flew into various parts of the city. The shelling of the city continues.”

    Shebekino and the wider Belgorod region have come under repeated shelling in recent weeks.

    Governor of Lviv says first evacuees from Kherson have arrived

    The governor of Lviv in western Ukraine says they have received their first evacuees after the Kakhovka dam explosion on Tuesday.

    Maksym Kozytskyi said on Telegram, “At night, the first people who evacuated from the Kherson region due to the explosion of the Kakhovskaya HPP arrived in Lviv region. They came by their own transport. They only needed advisory help. There is currently no mass evacuation in our region.”

    Kozytskyi added that shelters are on standby.

    Russia’s Shoigu orders military contractor to speed up deliveries

    Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu has ordered military contractor Almaz-Antey to speed up new production facilities to manufacture air defence systems.

    “The products manufactured by Almaz-Antey Corporation are in demand and show high efficiency in the special military operation area,” Shoigu said on a visit to one of the company’s plants.

    The statement quoted a top official at Almaz-Antey as saying the corporation was delivering its products ahead of schedule.

    Almaz-Antey makes air defence missile systems like the S-300 and S-400, which are used to shoot down aircraft and ballistic and cruise missiles.

    Dam collapse evacuations ‘completely failed by occupiers’: Zelenskyy

    President Zelenskyy says evacuation efforts in Russia-occupied areas near the Nova Kakhovka dam are faltering, as he calls for urgent humanitarian aid.

    On Telegram, Zelenskyy said the Nova Kakhovka dam was the main topic of a government conference call in the morning.

    “Evacuation on the left bank has been completely failed by the occupiers. We will appeal to international organisations,” he said.

    “Minister Klymenko, the newly appointed head of the emergency response headquarters, delivered a report. He is already on the ground.”

    The priorities are the “evacuation of people”, he said, as well as urgent provision of drinking water and long-term solutions for settlements that were dependent on the reservoir.

    Zelenskyy said Klymenko is also assessing environmental damage.

    Ukrainian troops advance as deep as 1.1km around Bakhmut: Minister

    Ukrainian deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar says troops have advanced from 200 to 1,100 metres (from 218 to 1203 yards) in parts of the front around Bakhmut in the last 24 hours.

    On Telegram, Maliar said, “In the direction of Bakhmut, our troops switched from defence to [offence]. Over the past day, we have advanced from 200 to 1,100 meters [from 218 to 1203 yards] in various sections of the Bakhmut direction.”

    “The enemy in this direction went on the defensive, trying to hold the occupied positions. At present, the enemy is withdrawing its reserves in this direction from the depth for protection.”

    The minister added Wagner forces still remain in some place in the rear, and the Russian army is “conducting hostilities”.

    “It is possible to hold the defence of the Bakhmut direction for so long and now to advance on it thanks to the fortifications prepared in advance,” she added.

    Russia ‘officially’ blames Kyiv for dam collapse: Journalist

    Journalist Yulia Shapovalova, reporting from Moscow, said the Russian side has officially blamed the dam collapse on Ukraine.

    “The Russian side has officially placed all the blame on Kyiv, and Moscow actually controls those territories. They say it is not in their interest to trigger a humanitarian and ecological catastrophe there,” Shapovalova said.

    “Many here believe the situation could presumably be beneficial for Ukraine because the flood could have washed away Russian fortifications there and minefields. In October last year, Russia wrote a letter to the UNSC [United Nations Security Council] calling on Kyiv to prevent the destruction of the dam, and it was warning about the shelling from the Ukrainian side.”

    Shapovalova added that experts have said that the fallout from the dam may affect both sides of the war.

    Up to 100 people trapped in Nova Kakhovka, says Russian official

    At least 100 people in the Russian-controlled town of Nova Kakhovka are trapped, and thousands of wild animals have been killed after the Kakhovka dam collapsed, Russian news agencies reported.

    Every second, more than 30,000 cubic metres (30 million litres or 8 million gallons) of water pours out of the reservoir the dam held back, and the town is at risk of contamination, the TASS news agency quoted the Russian-installed mayor, Vladimir Leontyev, as saying.

    He said rescue efforts were under way to free people trapped by the floods.

    Leontyev was also cited by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying that “thousands of animals” at the Nizhnedniprovsky National Nature Park had also been killed and that the scale of the disaster was “huge”.

    Ukraine and Russia traded blame for the destruction of the dam.

    Water levels expected to drop: AJ correspondent

    Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Zaporizhzhia, said that, before its collapse, the dam generated fresh water for thousands of people in Ukraine.

    “The most immediate impact is for the tens and thousands of civilians living downriver. This is the Ukrainian-controlled side. The river is swollen and overwhelming the banks. Residents in the nearby streets are being evacuated from the rising water,” Stratford said.

    “On the Russian-occupied side of the river, the town of Nova Kakhovka is also under a metre [3.2 feet] or more of flood water. Ukraine’s President accused the Russians of terrorism. This is the reservoir upstream from the destroyed dam, and this is a vast body of water. We estimate banks in the distance to be about 25km away.”

    He added that water levels are expected to drop in the coming hours and days.

    • Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s former president, has said it seems that Ukraine has already launched its long-awaited counteroffensive and that Moscow should respond with its own offensive once it had repelled Kyiv’s forces.

      “The enemy has long promised a great counteroffensive. And it seems to have already started something,” Medvedev, who now serves as the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

      “We have to stop the enemy and then launch an offensive,” he said.


    Russia detains resident suspected of spying for Ukraine

    Russia has detained a resident in its far east on suspicion of spying for Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported, quoting the Federal Security Service.

    The suspect was accused of gathering information about law enforcement facilities and the region’s military infrastructure, the RIA news agency reported.

    Reports said the suspect was a resident of the Primorsky Krai region, without providing further detail.

    Minefields flooded after dam breach: TASS

    Some Russian minefields in parts of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region controlled by Moscow were flooded after the dam was breached, the region’s Russian-installed governor Vladimir Saldo said, the TASS news agency has reported.

    Zelenskyy says dam blast will not stop military plans

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called the collapse of the Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine an act of “mass environmental destruction” and said the attack on such critical infrastructure would not alter Ukraine’s plans to retake territory from occupying Russian forces.

    Describing the explosion that destroyed the dam as a deliberate and chaotic act by Russia, Zelenskyy said that the dam was blown up in a bid to “use the flood as a weapon” to hamper Ukrainian forces.

    Meanwhile, the Kremlin blamed Ukraine for the dam’s collapse, saying Kyiv had destroyed the site to distract from the faltering launch of its counteroffensive that Moscow had already blunted.

    Ukraine’s Nova Kakhovka dam explosion

    A dam and hydroelectric power plant in a Russian-controlled part of southern Ukraine have been destroyed, unleashing a torrent of water and prompting fears of wide-scale flooding in the area downstream on the Dnipro river.

    Ukrainian and Russian officials have urged local communities near the Nova Kakhovka dam to evacuate the area immediately.

    Emergency declared in annexed parts of Kherson

    The state-run TASS news agency reported that Russian-installed authorities imposed a state of emergency in the annexed part of Ukraine’s Kherson region.

    One killed after Russian attack on Kherson

    One person has died and another is injured after Russian forces shelled the Ukrainian region of Kherson multiple times over the past day, the region’s governor said.

    At least seven missing in flooding: Moscow-installed mayor

    At least seven people are missing after water from the destroyed Nova Kakhovka dam flooded nearby areas, Russia’s TASS news agency quoted the Moscow-installed mayor of the city of Nova Kakhovka as saying.

    Water levels in Nova Kakhovka fall

    Water levels in Nova Kakhovka started to fall after the destruction of the nearby dam, the Russian-installed administration of the city said.

    “The water level on the previously flooded streets of Nova Kakhovka began to subside,” the administration of the now Moscow-controlled city said.