Zelensky Visits Flood-Hit Area After Kakhovka Dam Collapse

A view shows flooded residential buildings after the Nova Kakhovka dam breached, in Kherson, Thursday. (REUTERS/Vladyslav Smilianets)

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the flooded southern region of Kherson on Thursday to discuss emergency operations after flooding caused by the destruction of a huge dam.

Moscow, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and Kyiv blamed each other for the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric station and dam on Tuesday, which unleashed floodwater from the Dnipro River.

“Many important issues were discussed. The operational situation in the region as a result of the disaster, evacuation of the population from potential flood zones, elimination of the emergency caused by the dam explosion, organization of life support for the flooded areas,” Zelensky said on social media under video footage of his visit. “Also, the prospects for restoring the region’s ecosystem and the operational military situation in the man-made disaster area.”

Kherson lies on the Dnipro, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) downstream from the Kakhovka dam.

In a separate post, also accompanied by video footage, the President said he had visited a road crossing where people were being evacuated.

Kherson’s governor had said earlier on Thursday that 600 square kilometers, or 230 square miles, of the region was underwater – most of it on the Russian-occupied side of the river – and that nearly 2,000 people had already left affected areas.

“It is important to calculate the damage and allocate funds to compensate residents affected by the disaster and develop a program to compensate for losses or relocate businesses within the Kherson region,” Zelensky said.

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