Russia-Ukraine war updates: Kyiv and Moscow trade blame for dam at UN
Wednesday, 7 June 2023 (10:38 IST)
After the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine on Tuesday, Kyiv and Moscow have blamed each other during an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
Ukraine's UN Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya accused Moscow of detonating "a bomb of mass environmental destruction" leading to major and avoidable flooding.
Kyslytsya spoke of an "act of ecological and technological terrorism" at the meeting in New York. The blast was "yet another example of Russia's genocide against Ukrainians," he said.
Russia's UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya, on the other hand, said the incident was a "deliberate sabotage undertaken by Kyiv" and should be "classified as a war crime or an act of terrorism." The dam had been used for an "unthinkable crime," he said.
Kyslytsya in response argued that the dam was in Russian control and out of Ukrainian reach, saying it was "physically impossible" to have caused the damage with shelling and that Russia had mined it.
Meanwhile, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told the Security Council that the dam breach "will have grave and far-reaching consequences for thousands of people in southern Ukraine on both sides of the front line through the loss of homes, food, safe water and livelihoods."
"The sheer magnitude of the catastrophe will only become fully realized in the coming days," he said.
Ukrainian officials estimated about 42,000 people were at risk from the flooding, which is expected to peak on Wednesday.
Here are some of the other developments concerning Russia's war in Ukraine on Wednesday, June 7:
Zelenskyy says Ukraine will not be stopped by Russia's explosion of dam
Ukraine will not let the explosion of the Kakhovka dam stop it from reclaiming occupied territories, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.
"The disaster caused by Russian terrorists at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant will not stop Ukraine and Ukrainians," Zelenskyy said in his evening video message late on Tuesday. At the same time, he promised help to those affected in the flooded region.
According to Zelenskyy's account, the blowing up of the dam was intended to slow down the Ukrainian counteroffensive. "We will still liberate our entire country," he said. Such attacks could not prevent Russia's defeat, he said, but would only lead to Moscow having to pay higher damages in the end.
The Ukrainian prosecutor general had already turned to the International Criminal Court (ICC) with a request for an investigation into the explosion, he said.
Meanwhile, Zelenskyy said the government was doing everything it could to rescue flood victims and provide the population with drinking water.
Russian forces shell ammonia pipeline in Ukraine's Kharkiv region
Russian forces repeatedly fired at an ammonia pipeline in Ukraine's Kharkiv region, a local governor said on Tuesday, a conduit potentially crucial for the extension of a deal allowing the safe export of grains and fertilizers from Black Sea ports.
The extension next month of the Black Sea Grain initiative, a pact struck in July 2022 to help stop global food prices rising, could hinge on the reopening of the pipeline.
The ammonia pipeline, the world's longest, stretches about 2,470 kilometers (1,534 miles) from Russia's Togliatti on the Volga River to three Black Sea ports. It has been shut down since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
There was no recorded leakage from the late Tuesday shelling that hit the pipeline near the village of Masiutivka and an overnight shelling near the village of Zapadne, said Oleh Syniehubov, the governor of Ukraine's Kharkiv region.