Explosions at the Kakhovka dam near Kherson, southern Ukraine unleashed floodwaters on Tuesday, as Russia rejects accusations of attacking the dam, calls it ,sabotage, by Kyiv.
Ukraine carried out sabotage at Kakhovka dam after failing in counteroffensive, says Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Twitter said the destruction of the dam "confirms for the whole world that they (Russian forces) must be expelled from every corner of Ukrainian land."
He also convened an emergency meeting of the National Security and Defense Council.
The vast dam, 30 meters (98 feet) tall and 3.2 km (2 miles) long, was built in 1956 on the Dnieper River as part of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant. It also holds an 18 km3 capacity reservoir.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the incident "probably Europe’s largest technological disaster in decades," which puts "thousands of civilians at risk." Head of Ukraine's southern command Vladislav Nazarov said the dam is partially breached and flooding is underway.
Vladimir Leontyev, head of the Russia-controlled city of Nova Kakhovka, located on the east bank of the Dnieper River, however, said on Telegram that overnight strikes by Ukraine's armed forces led to the destruction of valves, and thus the uncontrolled release of the water downstream.
Leontyev warned that the destruction of the dam may lead to water supply problems to Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, as the Kakhovka Reservoir supplies water to the peninsula via the North Crimean Canal, as well as to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).