Ukrainian Nova Kakhovka Dam destroyed in explosion blamed on Russia

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Speaking on Tuesday night, Mr Sunak said: “Our military and intelligence agencies are currently looking at it so it’s too soon to preempt that and make a definitive judgement.

“But what I can say is if it is intentional it would represent the largest attack on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine since the start of the war, and would demonstrate the new lows we have seen from Russian aggression. 

“Attacks on civilian infrastructure are appalling and wrong. We’ve seen previous instances of that in the conflict so far. But it’s too early to be definitive.”

US intelligence was “leaning” to the conclusion that Russia had triggered the flood, NBC news reported on Tuesday evening.

James Cleverly, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, suggested that Russia was behind the “abhorrent act”, saying “intentionally attacking exclusively civilian infrastructure is a war crime”.

Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, accused Moscow of carrying out the strike “to stop the Ukrainian offensive”.

Russia blamed Ukraine for the destruction of the dam, terming it an act of “sabotage” that endangered water supplies to Russian-controlled Crimea.

The Nova Kakhovka dam and its hydro-electric power plant powered three million homes. The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, around 150km upstream, also used water from it to cool its reactors.

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