A torrent of water burst through a huge dam on the Dnipro River that separates Russian and Ukrainian forces in southern Ukraine on Tuesday, flooding a swathe of the war zone and forcing villagers to flee.
Ukraine and its Western allies accused Russia of blowing up the dam in a deliberate war crime. The Kremlin said it was Ukraine that had sabotaged the dam, to distract attention from a counteroffensive Moscow claims is faltering. Some Russian-installed officials said the dam had burst on its own, Reuters reported.
Neither side offered immediate public evidence of who was to blame. The Geneva Conventions explicitly ban targeting dams in war, because of the danger to civilians posed by destruction of such “works and installations containing dangerous forces”.
By mid-morning in the city of Kherson on the Ukrainian-held side, a pier on a tributary of the Dnipro had already been submerged by the surge climbing the banks.
“The water level has so far risen one meter,” resident Oleksandr Syomyk told Reuters. “We’ll see what happens next but we hope for the best.”
The Nova Kakhovka dam supplies water to a swathe of southern Ukraine’s agricultural land, including the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula, as well as cooling the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. The vast reservoir behind it is one of the main geographic features of southern Ukraine, 240 km long and up to 23 km wide.
A swathe of countryside lies in the flood plain below, with villages on the Russian-held southern bank seen as particularly vulnerable.
The destruction of the dam creates a new humanitarian disaster in the center of the war zone and transforms the front lines just as Ukraine is unleashing a long-awaited counteroffensive to drive Russian troops from its territory.
Russia has controlled the dam since early in the war, although Ukrainian forces recaptured the northern side of the river last year. Both sides had long accused the other of planning to destroy it.
“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,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
Russians had “carried out an internal detonation of the structures” of the dam. “About 80 settlements are in the zone of flooding,” he said on Telegram.
NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called it “an outrageous act, which demonstrates once again the brutality of Russia’s war in Ukraine”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a regular news briefing: “We can state unequivocally that we are talking about deliberate sabotage by the Ukrainian side.”
The U.N. nuclear watchdog said the Zaporizhzhia power plant should have enough water to cool its reactors for “some months” from a separate pond located above the reservoir, and called for the pond to be spared.
The water level at the town immediately adjacent to the breached dam could rise by up to 12 meters, its Russia-installed mayor, Vladimir Leontyev, said on Telegram.
Video showed water surging through the remains of the dam – which is 30 meters tall and 3.2 km long.
Some 22,000 people living across 14 settlements in Kherson region are at risk of flooding, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted the Moscow-installed head of the region as saying. Kherson is one of five Ukrainian regions Moscow claims to have annexed.
Mexican church roof collapses during Sunday mass killing 9, about 30 others missing
A church roof collapsed during Sunday mass in a northern Mexican city killing at least nine people and injuring 40, authorities said, as rescuers worked into the night, desperately looking for another 30 people believed to be trapped under the rubble.
Working under floodlights, military personnel supported emergency services using rescue dogs and earth moving equipment to identify and dig out survivors from the ruins of the church in Ciudad Madero, a city on the Gulf coast near the port of Tampico, Reuters reported.
Footage on social media showed the moment the church roof caved in, puffs of gray smoke billowing into the air, followed by the toppling of yellow brick outer walls.
Nine people died and another 40 were taken to nearby hospitals, while 30 other worshippers remained unaccounted for, Jorge Cuéllar, spokesman for the Security Ministry of Tamaulipas state, which borders Texas.
Speaking on Foro TV news channel, Cuéllar thanked local businessmen for bringing equipment to help remove rubble and aid rescue efforts.
Bishop Jose Armando Alvarez from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tampico said the church roof crumbled as worshippers were receiving communion and asked others to pray for the survivors.
“In this moment the necessary work is being carried out to pull out the people who are still under the rumble,” Bishop Armando said in a recorded message shared on social media.
Turkey says terrorists set off bomb at Ankara government building
Turkey’s government said on Sunday two terrorists carried out a bomb attack in front of the Interior Ministry buildings in Ankara, adding one of them died in the explosion and the other was “neutralised” by authorities there.
An explosion was heard near the parliament and ministerial buildings, Turkish media had earlier reported, and broadcasters showed footage of debris scattered on a street nearby, Reuters reported.
The blast was the first in Ankara since 2016, and comes on the day that parliament was set to open a new session.
Reuters footage showed soldiers, ambulances, fire trucks and armoured vehicles gathered at the ministry near the centre of Turkey’s capital.
Ali Yerlikaya, the interior minister, said on social media platform X that two police officers were slightly injured in the incident at 9:30 a.m. (0630 GMT).
Advertisement · Scroll to continue
“Two terrorists came with a light commercial vehicle in front of the entrance gate of the General Directorate of Security of our Ministry of Internal Affairs and carried out a bomb attack,” he said.
He added that one blew himself up and the other was “neutralised”, which usually means was killed. “Our struggle will continue until the last terrorist is neutralised,” Yerlikaya wrote.
Police also announced they would carry out controlled explosions for “suspicious package incidents” in other parts of Ankara.
Authorities did not identify any specific militant group.
The blast comes almost a year after six people were killed and 81 wounded in an explosion in a busy pedestrian street in central Istanbul. Turkey blamed Kurdish militants for that.
During a spate of violence in 2015 and 2016, Kurdish militants, Islamic State and other groups either claimed or were blamed for several attacks in major Turkish cities. In March 2016, 37 people were killed in Ankara when a bomb-laden car exploded at a crowded central transport hub.
Ankara’s chief prosecutor launched an investigation on Sunday into what it also called a terrorist attack.
President Tayyip Erdogan was set at 7:30 p.m. to attend the opening of parliament, which in the coming weeks is expected to consider ratifying Sweden’s bid to join NATO after Turkey had raised initial objections.
Turkish media reported that authorities were carrying out checks of the parliament after the blast at the ministry. A source told Reuters that the entrance was open but no cars were allowed through as part of the precautions.
US Congress averts government shutdown, passing stopgap bill
The U.S. Congress passed a stopgap funding bill late on Saturday with overwhelming Democratic support after Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy backed down from an earlier demand by his party’s hardliners for a partisan bill.
The Democratic-majority Senate voted 88-9 to pass the measure to avoid the federal government’s fourth partial shutdown in a decade, sending the bill to President Joe Biden, who signed it into law before the 12:01 a.m. deadline.
McCarthy abandoned party hardliners’ insistence that any bill pass the House with only Republican votes, a change that could cause one of his far-right members to try to oust him from his leadership role.
The House voted 335-91 to fund the government through Nov. 17, with more Democrats than Republicans supporting it.
That move marked a profound shift from earlier in the week, when a shutdown looked all but inevitable. A shutdown would mean that most of the government’s 4 million employees would not get paid – whether they were working or not – and also would shutter a range of federal services, from National Parks to financial regulators.
Federal agencies had already drawn up detailed plans that spell out what services would continue, such as airport screening and border patrols, and what must shut down, including scientific research and nutrition aid to 7 million poor mothers.
“The American people can breathe a sigh of relief: there will be no government shutdown tonight,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote. “Democrats have said from the start that the only solution for avoiding a shutdown is bipartisanship, and we are glad Speaker McCarthy has finally heeded our message.”
Saar: IEA’s expansion of diplomatic ties with neighbors discussed
Deputy foreign minister meets UNAMA head
World Cup 2023: Only 2 days to go! What you need to know!
India tells Canada to withdraw 41 diplomats
Ronaldo sparks fightback as Al-Nassr given Asian Champions League scare
Xi, Putin missing G20 summit not unusual, India’s foreign minister says
ICC World Cup 2023 Trophy set to tour Afghanistan
Iran, US on verge of prisoner swap under Qatar-mediated deal
India thrash Nepal to reach Asia Cup Super Fours
Rain in Spain leaves two dead, two missing, people stuck on roofs
Saar: IEA’s expansion of diplomatic ties with neighbors discussed
Tahawol: Calls for countering terrorism in Afghanistan discussed
Saar: Detention of 800 Afghan refugees in Islamabad discussed
Tahawol: Islamabad’s security concerns from Afghan soil discussed
Saar: Afghan embassy in India ceasing operations discussed
Sport4 days ago
Afghanistan-South Africa Cricket World Cup warm-up game washed out
Regional4 days ago
Suicide blast in southwest Pakistan kills at least 52 people
Latest News4 days ago
Two families reconcile in Nangarhar, end 17 years of enmity
Science & Technology4 days ago
Three astronauts return to Earth after a year in space
World5 days ago
Senior US, China diplomats meet in Washington in latest effort to maintain dialogue
Sport3 days ago
Top ranked performers from each team rated ahead of ICC Cricket World Cup
World3 days ago
Republicans reject own funding bill, US government shutdown imminent
Latest News4 days ago
Afghan embassy in India suspends operations, diplomats from previous government leave