Mines are being swept away in the floodwaters and exploding after a key dam in Ukraine was destroyed

  • The destruction of a dam in Ukraine caused a flood that is submerging towns downstream.

  • Ukrainian officials warned that mines are being swept away by the flood.

  • Ukraine accused Russian forces of blowing up Kakhovka dam to cause havoc and slow a military attack.

The destruction of the Kakhovka dam in Ukraine has caused massive flooding downstream, and Ukrainian officials are warning that mines and other munitions are being swept up and could drift toward submerged towns.

Ukraine's State Emergency Service warned its citizens to be careful of explosives that could be dislodged by the torrential floods.

"Do not approach or touch explosive objects under any circumstances," the agency wrote on Telegram.

Video from Ukraine appears to show underwater explosions near the dam after the flooding began in the Dnipro River, a major waterway that winds past the capital Kyiv and down toward Kherson and Crimea in the southern part of Ukraine.

The Kakhovka Dam is located upstream of Kherson. Its destruction sent a wall of water rushing out of the dam on Tuesday, flooding towns south of it.

Ukrainian authorities accused Russian forces — who control the area around the dam — of blowing it up to slow a possible Ukrainian counteroffensive and cause havoc downriver. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed in October that the Russians had mined the dam.

Ukraine's state hydropower company Ukrhydroenergo said on Tuesday the dam was destroyed by a detonation in the engine room, and in a separate statement, Zelenskyy said it "was mined by the Russian occupiers and blown up by them."

Russian officials, meanwhile, blamed Ukraine for the sabotage. The destruction of the dam echoes Soviet tactics from World War II used against the Nazis; the same tactics are also mirrored in certain modern Russian and Ukrainian military approaches.

Concerns have been raised about the potential threat to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant given the depletion of the reservoir providing cooling water for the plant's reactors, but the International Atomic Energy Agency said "there is no immediate risk" since much of the plant has been shut down.

A greater threat may be to civilians. The State Emergency Service said at least 1,300 have been evacuated since the dam burst.

Although the extent of the damage caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka dam remains to be seen, Zelenskyy called this latest development "the biggest man-made environmental disaster in Europe in decades."

Read the original article on Business Insider