Ukrainian Zelenskyy urges West to warn Russia against key dam explosion – National


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on the West to warn Russia not to blow up a huge dam that would flood part of southern Ukraine, as his forces prepare to push back Muscovite troops from Kherson in one of the most important battles of the war.

In a televised address, Zelenskyy said Russian forces had placed explosives inside the huge Nova Kakhovka dam, which holds back a massive reservoir that dominates much of southern Ukraine, and planned to detonate it. blow.

“Now everyone in the world must act strongly and quickly to prevent another Russian terrorist attack. To destroy the dam would mean a full-scale disaster,” he said.

Read more:

Ukrainian public services threatened by Russian strikes in new phase of war

Russia accused Kyiv earlier this week of blowing up the dam and planning to destroy it, in what Ukrainian officials said was a sign that Moscow might blow it up and blame Kyiv. Neither side has produced any evidence to support their claims.

The story continues under the ad

The vast Dnipro bisects Ukraine and is several kilometers wide in places. The bursting of the dam could send a wall of water flooding the settlements below, towards the city of Kherson, which Ukrainian forces hope to retake in a major advance.

It would also destroy the canal system that irrigates much of southern Ukraine, including Crimea, which Moscow seized in 2014.

The alarm echoes a World War II disaster at another huge dam further upstream, which Ukrainian historians say was blasted by Soviet sappers as their troops retreated, causing floods that washed away villages and killed thousands of people.

Zelenskyy called on world leaders to clarify that blowing up the dam would be treated « in exactly the same way as the use of weapons of mass destruction », with consequences similar to those threatened if Russia uses nuclear weapons or chemicals.

One of the most important battles of the eight-month war comes to an end near the dam as Ukrainian forces advance along the west bank of the river, aiming to retake the city of Kherson and surround thousands of troops Russians.

The story continues under the ad

Ukraine has imposed a blackout on the Kherson front, but Russian commander Sergei Surovikin said this week that the situation in Kherson was « already difficult » and that Russia was « not ruling out tough decisions ».

Ukrainian troops who occupied a section of the front north of Kherson said on Friday there had been a noticeable reduction in recent weeks in shellfire from Russian positions in a row of trees that sweeps across a stretch of fields in fallow, about 4 km.

The drop in fire and the absence of Russian armored movement in the area, they said, indicated that the Russians were low on ammunition and equipment. The only sign of combat was the occasional crack of a shell exploding in the distance.

« They’ve been shooting less for about three weeks, » said Myhailo, 42, who like other soldiers deployed with him, kept his last name hidden. « And their drones are less active. »

« It’s probably been less shelling for about a month, » Sasha, 19, said. « It has to end at some point. Their ammunition can’t last forever.

On Friday, the Kremlin dodged the question of whether or not President Vladimir Putin had ordered Russian forces to withdraw from Kherson.

Click to play the video:

Russian-Ukrainian conflict: Fear of nukes rises as Zelenskyy pushes to fast-track NATO bid

The Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff said up to 2,000 newly mobilized Russians had arrived in the area « to replenish casualties and reinforce units on the line of contact ».

The story continues under the ad

Russian-installed occupation officials have begun what they say is the evacuation of tens of thousands of civilians across the river from west bank towns. They accused Kyiv of bombing a ferry overnight, killing at least four civilians. Ukraine said it fired at a barge, but only after a curfew when no civilians should have come out.

As Russian forces have suffered setbacks on the battlefield since September, Putin has escalated the war. Last month, he ordered the recall of hundreds of thousands of reservists, announced the annexation of Russian-occupied territory and repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons to protect Russia.

This month it launched a campaign of attacks using Iranian cruise missiles and drones to cut off Ukraine’s power supply before winter. Kyiv and the West say this amounts to deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure and a war crime.

Moscow has admitted targeting energy infrastructure but denies targeting civilians, saying the purpose of its « special military operation » is to degrade the Ukrainian military.

Since Thursday, Ukrainians have experienced calls across the country to reduce electricity consumption and some power cuts, which authorities say are needed to repair power plants damaged in the attacks.

The United States said Thursday that Iranian troops were in Crimea and helped fly the drones to attack Ukraine.

Click to play the video:

Russian missiles hit dam in central Ukraine, flooding parts of Kryvyi Rih: officials

« We can confirm that Russian military personnel based in Crimea have piloted Iranian drones and used them to conduct kinetic strikes across Ukraine, including in strikes against Kyiv in recent days, » the spokesperson said. of the United States Department of State Ned Price during a press briefing.

The story continues under the ad

Iran has denied supplying the drones, as has Moscow, although many have been shot down and recovered, making it clear where they came from.

« Iran and Russia, they can lie to the world, but they certainly can’t hide the facts, and the fact is this: Tehran is now directly engaged on the ground, » the security spokesman said. White House national, John Kirby.


Back to top button