Swathes of Ukraine’s Kherson region under water after dam destroyed – governor

KYIV (AFP): About 600 square kilometers of the Kherson region in southern Ukraine was under water on Thursday following the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam, the regional governor said.

Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said 68 percent of the flooded territory was on the Russian-occupied left bank of the Dnipro River. The “average level of flooding” in the Kherson region on Thursday morning was 5.61 meters, he said.

“We’re already working. We will help everyone that has ended up in trouble,” he said in a video statement of the flooding caused by the collapse of the dam, which is about 60km upstream from Kherson.

Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and Ukraine blame each other for the destruction of the Russian-occupied dam on Tuesday.

“Despite the immense danger and constant Russian shelling, evacuation from zones of flooding is continuing,” Prokudin said.

He said almost 2,000 people had left flooded territory as of Thursday morning.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky visited the flood-hit southern region of Kherson on Thursday as evacuations continued after the destruction of a major Russian-held dam on the front line.

Zelensky said he held a “working trip to Kherson region” where he discussed the “evacuation of the population from potential flood zones, elimination of the emergency caused by the dam explosion, (and the) organization of life support for the flooded areas.”

Zelensky said in a video address late on Wednesday that it was impossible to predict how many people would die in Russian-occupied areas due to the flooding.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier proposed, in a call with his Ukrainian counterpart, creating an international commission to probe the destruction of a major dam in southern Ukraine, his office reported.

“President Erdogan said that a commission could be established with the participation of experts from the warring parties, the United Nations and the international community, including Turkiye, for a detailed investigation into the explosion at Kakhovka dam,” his office said after the call with the Ukrainian president.