Ukraine says Russia blew up Kakhovka dam to prevent counteroffensive in south

Ukraine says Russia blew up Kakhovka dam to prevent counteroffensive in south
Ukraine has blamed Russia for blowing up the Kakhova dam to stop Ukrainian forces from carrying out a counteroffensive in the south.
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Moscow in turn has blamed the destruction of the dam on Ukraine [Getty]

The Kakhovka dam was blown up by Russian forces to prevent Ukrainian troops from advancing in the southern Kherson region, deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar said on Sunday.

Ukraine has accused Russian forces of blowing up the dam from inside its associated hydroelectric power station. The site has been under Russian occupation since the early weeks of Russia's invasion in February last year.

Moscow has blamed the destruction of the dam on Ukraine. Each side has accused the other of shelling civilians as rescue efforts are carried out.

"The explosion of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station was apparently carried out with the intention of preventing the Ukrainian Defence Forces from launching an offensive in the Kherson sector," Maliar said on the Telegram messaging app.

She said the action, which unleashed a vast flood which inundated towns and villages, trapped residents and swept away entire houses, was also aimed at helping allow the deployment of Russian reserves to the Zaporizhzhia and Bakhmut areas.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday that counteroffensive and defensive operations were taking place in Ukraine.

He gave no details. A military spokesman has said that counterattacking Ukrainian forces have advanced up to 1,400 metres at a number of sections of the front line near the eastern city of Bakhmut.

Ukrainian Land Forces said on Sunday that soldiers of the 68th Separate Hunting Brigade had liberated the village of Blahodatne in the Donetsk region.

It gave no details but a published video showed several Ukrainian soldiers planting a Ukrainian flag in the window of a heavily damaged building.

"The invaders resisted to the last, but could not withstand the onslaught of unrestrained wolverines!," the Forces said on Facebook. Reuters was unable to immediately verify the statement.