Ukraine has blamed Russian forces for blowing up a major dam in a southern part of the country they control and unleashing flooding across the war zone.

Russia has also accused Ukraine of destroying the Kakhovka dam, with a representative for the country describing it as a terrorist attack.

Neither accounts have been independently verified.

Unverified videos on social media showed a series of intense explosions around the Kakhovka dam. Other videos showed water surging through the remains of the dam with bystanders expressing their shock.

The dam, 30 metres tall and two miles long, was built in 1956 on the Dnipro river as part of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant.

It holds an 18 km3 reservoir which also supplies water to the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, and to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which is also under Russian control.

Residents further along the Dnipro River have been encouraged to evacuate and warned of flooding downstream.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry called for residents of 10 villages on the river’s right bank and parts of the city of Kherson to gather essential documents and pets, turn off appliances and leave the area.

They have also cautioned against possible disinformation.

Oleksandr Prokudin, the head of the Kherson Regional Military Administration, said in a video posted to Telegram shortly before 7am that “the Russian army has committed yet another act of terror,” and warned that water will reach “critical levels” within five hours.

President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Telegram: “Russian terrorists. The destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam only confirms for the whole world that they must be expelled from every corner of Ukrainian land.”

“Not a single meter should be left to them, because they use every meter for terror.”

The head of Ukraine’s presidential administration said on Tuesday that Russia’s destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine represents an “ecocide”.

Andriy Yermak wrote on Telegram that Russia’s actions also present a threat to the nearby Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant but he did not elaborate.

Russian state owned news agency Tass reported Ukrainian troops were responsible for the attack on the dam.

Additional reporting by Reuters

2023-06-06T06:32:48Z dg43tfdfdgfd