Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Thursday he had visited the flooded southern region of Kherson and discussed the situation after the destruction of the Kakhovka dam.
“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,” he said in a Telegram post.
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“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.
“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,” Zelenskyy said.
Earlier Thursday, the regional governor said that about 600 square kilometers, or 230 square miles, of the Kherson region in southern Ukraine was under water following the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam.
Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said 68 percent of the flooded territory was on the Russian-occupied left bank of the Dnipro River. The “average level of flooding” in the Kherson region on Thursday morning was 5.61 meters (18.41 ft), he said.
“We’re already working. We will help everyone that has ended up in trouble,” he said in a video statement of the flooding caused by the collapse of the dam, which is about 60 km upstream from Kherson.
Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and Ukraine blame each other for the destruction of the Russian-occupied dam on Tuesday.
“Despite the immense danger and constant Russian shelling, evacuation from zones of flooding is continuing,” Prokudin said.
He said almost 2,000 people had left flooded territory as of Thursday morning.
Zelenskyy said in a video address late on Wednesday that it was impossible to predict how many people would die in Russian-occupied areas due to the flooding.
Also on Thursday, the Russian-installed mayor of Nova Kakhovka said that five people had died after the nearby dam burst, Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported.
Around 14,000 houses have been flooded after Ukraine’s Kakhovka dam burst, with around 4,300 people evacuated, Russian state-owned news agency TASS cited the country’s security services as saying on Thursday.
Ukraine said that the flooding caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine has forced Russian troops to retreat by distances of five to 15 km (three to nine miles) in the Kherson region.
Natalia Humeniuk, spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern command, told Ukrainian television the redeployment had “practically halved” Russian shelling in the region.
Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield situation. Russia did not immediately comment.
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