Ukraine updates: Kyiv warns Russia plans to destroy dam

Friday, 21 October 2022 (13:53 IST)
Ukraine has accused Russia of planning to destroy a hydropower plant in the eastern Kherson region — which Moscow has illegally annexed and subjected to martial law.

"Russia is preparing a manmade catastrophe," Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said Thursday.

Podolyak said Russia was mining the dam and transformers at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant to flood the lower Dnieper River, where Russian troops face a Ukrainian offensive.

Earlier on Thursday, Vladimir Leontyev, a Kremlin-installed regional official, said Ukrainian forces had launched five missile strikes against the Kakhovka dam and hydroelectric power station. He told Russian TV that if the facility was destroyed, a crucial canal providing water to annexed Crimea would be severed.

Zelenskyy said Russia had plans to blow up the dam and power station in what he deemed a terrorist act to unleash 18 million cubic meters and flood Kherson and dozens of areas that are home to hundreds of thousands of people live.

The Ukrainian president told the European leaders Moscow would then blame Kyiv.

Zelenskyy, in his daily address, said that blowing up the dam would be "a catastrophe on a grand scale."

Here are the other main headlines from the war in Ukraine on October 21.

Blasts reported in Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia

A string of explosions has shaken the Ukrainian cities of Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia, following an escalation of strikes by Russia in recent weeks

Authorities said missiles hit an industrial facility in Kharkiv, with the city's mayor, Ihor Terekhov, adding that rescuers had yet to see if there were casualties and assess the damage.

The regional governor of Kharkiv, Oleh Sinegubov, said five people had been wounded.

There were also reports of blasts in Zaporizhzhia although no further details were immediately available. Zaporizhzhia is home to Europe's largest nuclear plant of the same name.

Ukraine's foreign minister requests Israeli defense systems

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday and discussed Kyiv's request for air and missile defense systems and technology.

"I informed him [about the] unspeakable suffering, loss of life, and destruction caused by Russian missiles and Iranian-made drones," Kuleba said on Twitter.

The Israeli prime minister's office said in a statement that Lapid had reiterated the country's support for Ukraine and expressed his "deep concern" about the military ties between Iran and Russia.

While Israel has denounced Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it has said that it would not supply weapons to Kyiv and has limited its assistance to humanitarian relief. Israel has also said it would not provide its Iron Dome missile defense technology to Ukraine.

Ukraine has accused Moscow of using four Iranian-made drones to bomb Kyiv on Monday. The country has also said that its air defenses have shot down 223 Iranian drones since mid-September.

Russia claims it has no knowledge of its troops using Iranian drones in Ukraine, and Tehran has called the accusations that it is providing Moscow with weapons "baseless."

Iranian trainers in Crimea backing Russian drone strikes, US says
The United States on Thursday said that Iranian military trainers had been sent to Crimea to help Russian troops using Iranian-made drones to attack Ukrainian targets.

"We can confirm that Russian military personnel based in Crimea have been piloting Iranian UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and using them to conduct kinetic strikes across Ukraine, including in strikes against Kyiv in recent days," US State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a daily press briefing.

"We assess that ... Iranian military personnel were on the ground in Crimea and assisted Russia in these operations," Price said.

"We do have credible information," he said but did not provide evidence.

Crimea was unilaterally annexed from Ukraine by Russia in contravention of international law in 2014.

The statement comes as Washington seeks to increase international pressure on Tehran to withdraw from helping Moscow as it bombards soft civilian targets in Ukraine with the help of Iran-made drones.

Read on Webdunia

Related Article