Afghan Voice Agency (AVA): Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of destroying a large dam and hydropower plant in a part of southern Ukraine that is occupied by Russia.
It has been said that the destruction of this dam can cause a big flood that threatens the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The Kakhovka Dam with a height of 30 meters and a length of 3.2 kilometers belongs to the former Soviet era and was built in 1956 on the Dnieper River.
Russian news agencies have said that this dam was destroyed by shelling. The mayor of Novakahuka, which is controlled by Russia, described the move as a "terrorist act" by Ukraine.
However, Russian news agency Tass reported, citing an unnamed Russian government official that the dam had "collapsed" due to damage.
Ukrainian authorities had previously warned that the failure of the dam could release 18 million cubic meters of water and cause flooding in Kherson and dozens of other areas.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held an emergency meeting to deal with this crisis.
The Ministry of Interior of Ukraine also wrote in a telegram that the Kakhovka Dam has exploded and asked the residents of 10 villages around the river and parts of the city of Kherson downstream of the river to take essential documents and pets, turn off electrical appliances and leave their places of residence.
A video that appears to have been captured by a surveillance camera overlooking the embankment and is circulating on social media shows the explosion and breaching of the embankment.
"The Russian army has committed another terrorist act," said Alexander Prokudin, the head of the Kherson region's military administration, in a video posted on Telegram shortly before 7:00 a.m. He warned that the water will reach a "critical level" within five hours.
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of the Security Council of Ukraine, wrote in a tweet: "Zelensky convened a meeting of the Security and Defense Council following the explosion of the dam."
Ukraine and Russia have previously accused each other of targeting the dam with various attacks.
The water level was so low last February that it raised many concerns about the activities of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which is occupied by Russia. The cooling system of this power plant is supplied from the Kakhovka dam.
However, in mid-May, after heavy rains and melting snow, the water level exceeded the normal level and caused flooding in nearby villages. Satellite images showed water flowing over the damaged gates.
Ukraine controls five of the six dams along the Dnieper River, which stretches from the country's northern border with Belarus to the Black Sea, and is vital to the country's drinking water and electricity supply. Kakhovka Dam is the farthest downstream dam in Kherson region, which is controlled by Russian forces.