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June 6, 2023 Russia-Ukraine News

Nova Kakhovka, a major dam and hydroelectric power plant in the Russian-occupied southern Kherson region, suffered a collapse early Tuesday.

The breach is what a United Nations aid chief said is possibly the “most significant incident of damage to civilian infrastructure” since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

The incident has prompted mass evacuations, flooding and fears for large-scale devastation. According to the Nova Kakhovka zoo, 300 animals died Tuesday in the collapse’s aftermath.

Ukrainian troops witnessed Russian soldiers being swept up in flood waters and fleeing the east bank of the Dnipro River after the collapse, an officer in Ukraine’s armed forces said. Many Russian troops were killed or wounded in the chaos, according to the officer. 

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Pointing fingers. Both Kyiv and Moscow accused each other of being behind the major breach of the dam, although it is not clear whether the dam was deliberately attacked or whether the collapse was the result of structural failure. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has described the collapse as “an environmental bomb of mass destruction” while the Russian Foreign Ministry said it was caused by an “act of sabotage” by Ukraine. Deputy US Ambassador Robert Wood added his voice too, accusing Russia’s war in Ukraine of being responsible for the catastrophic damage following the breach.

Dam collapse aftermath. In a frontline city like Kherson — where the shelling is constant — the rising water brings an added danger. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said it is working closely with humanitarian partners to assist those impacted by flooding from the collapsed dam. Several Ukrainian regions that get some of their water supply from the reservoir of the Nova Kakhovka dam are making efforts to conserve water. British intelligence agencies are investigating the collapse, Prime Minster Rishi Sunak said Tuesday, according to UK’s PA Media. And according to Ukraine’s state nuclear regulatory inspectorate, problems due to the collapse can be avoided at the Zaporizhzhia power plant if “necessary measures are taken.”

Funding aid to Ukraine. Michael McCaul, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, said he believes Congress will pass more funding for Ukraine, despite Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s warning that more funding for the war must fall under the budget caps in the new debt ceiling law. Also, Ukraine is waiting for final agreements with its allies on the delivery of F-16 jets, Zelensky told journalists on Tuesday.

Nord Stream pipelines developments. The US received intelligence from a European ally last year that the Ukrainian military was planning an attack on the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines three months before they were hit, three US officials told CNN. The attack on the pipelines last September has been condemned by US officials and Western allies alike as a sabotage on critical infrastructure. It is currently being investigated by other European nations.

Source : CNN News