By Reuters: Hundreds of Ukrainians had been rescued from rooftops on Thursday, two days after waters from an enormous breached dam submerged villages, fields and roads within the southern area of Kherson, as Kyiv dismissed stories its counteroffensive had begun.
Drone video confirmed areas the place typically solely the roofs had been seen above the flooding. The area’s governor mentioned some 600 sq. kilometres, or 230 sq. miles, had been below water.
The collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam got here as Ukraine ready a counteroffensive, possible the subsequent main part within the battle by which tens of hundreds of individuals have been killed, hundreds of thousands uprooted and whole cities decreased to ruins since Russia’s “special military operation” started on Feb. 24 final yr.
NBC information, citing a senior officer and a soldier close to the entrance strains, mentioned the offensive had begun. The Washington Post cited “four individuals” within the armed forces saying the identical factor.
Asked concerning the stories, a spokesperson for the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces instructed Reuters: “We have no such information.”
In its each day Ukraine briefing, Britain’s defence ministry on Thursday reported heavy preventing alongside “multiple sectors of the front”, including that Kyiv held the initiative in most areas.
Ukraine’s navy mentioned the flooding in Kherson had compelled Russian troops to retreat by 5 to fifteen km and had “practically halved” Russian shelling.
A senior Russian commander briefed President Vladimir Putin on how his forces had repelled a large-scale Ukrainian assault within the southern Zaporizhzhia area, the TASS information company reported.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu mentioned earlier on Thursday that Russian forces had withstood fierce in a single day makes an attempt by Ukrainian troops to interrupt by way of the frontline in Zaporizhzhia and had inflicted heavy losses on them.
Reuters couldn’t independently confirm the battlefield stories.
Russia and Ukraine have traded blame for the bursting of the Soviet-era Kakhovka hydroelectric dam, which despatched waters cascading throughout the battle zone of southern Ukraine within the early hours of Tuesday, forcing tens of hundreds to flee.
Moscow and Kyiv additionally accused one another on Thursday of shelling the realm as rescue employees in rubber dinghies tried to avoid wasting folks and animals from the nonetheless rising flood waters.
Russian shelling wounded at the very least 9 folks in Kherson on Thursday as residents had been being evacuated, Ukraine’s inside ministry mentioned.
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The Prosecutor General’s workplace initially mentioned one particular person had been killed by the shelling however later mentioned no deaths had been reported. A Reuters reporter in Kherson mentioned he may hear what seemed to be artillery fireplace.
The Kremlin equally accused Ukraine of shelling Russian rescue employees within the space.
Friends and household of stranded residents posted appeals on-line with names, photographs and GPS places of residents. The coordinator of a volunteer group on the Telegram messaging app mentioned the appeals had been getting extra pressing as a result of folks had been working out of ingesting water.
One man, Sergei, instructed Reuters the final time he spoke together with his 83-year-old father-in-law within the Oleshky area was a number of days earlier than the dam collapse.
“The latest information is that there was a lot of water in the street, as high as a person,” he mentioned. “Houses collapsed and went under water.”
Ukraine mentioned the floods would go away a whole lot of hundreds of individuals with out entry to ingesting water, swamp tens of hundreds of hectares of agricultural land and switch at the very least 500,000 hectares disadvantaged of irrigation into “deserts”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who has appealed for a “clear and rapid” worldwide effort to assist flood victims, held emergency talks with officers in Kherson, one in all 5 Ukrainian areas which Moscow claims to have annexed however solely partially controls.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs mentioned help businesses had delivered bottles of ingesting water, water purification tablets, hygiene kits and jerrycans. “Drinking water remains the most pressing need,” it mentioned.
The Kremlin mentioned Putin had no plans to go to the area however was monitoring the state of affairs.
Putin, with out offering proof, has accused Ukraine of destroying the Russian-controlled dam on the suggestion of its Western allies.
Kyiv mentioned a number of months in the past the dam had been mined by Russian forces who captured it early of their invasion, and has prompt Moscow blew it as much as attempt to forestall Ukrainian forces crossing the Dnipro river of their counteroffensive.
It shouldn’t be identified how many individuals could have died because of the flooding. The Russian-installed mayor of Nova Kakhovka, close to the dam website, mentioned on Thursday at the very least 5 folks had died however the whole loss of life toll is bound to be a lot larger.
Kherson’s Ukrainian governor, Oleksandr Prokudin, mentioned 68% of the flooded territory was on the Russian-occupied left financial institution of the Dnipro River.
The “average level of flooding” within the Kherson area on Thursday morning was 5.61 meters (18.41 ft), he mentioned.
The water stage on the Kakhovka reservoir was approaching a harmful low, the state firm overseeing the power mentioned on Thursday, saying this might have an effect on the close by Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station and water provide to different areas.
The UN atomic watchdog mentioned on Tuesday the plant, Europe’s largest, has sufficient water to chill its reactors for “several months” from a pond situated above the reservoir.
Ukrainian and Russian officers have additionally warned of the hazard posed by mines planted through the battle and now scattered by the floods.