James Cleverly slams 'abhorrent' attack on crucial Ukraine dam

James Cleverly slams ‘abhorrent’ attack on crucial Ukraine dam saying attacks on civilian infrastructure are a war crime

James Cleverly today slammed the ‘abhorrent’ attack on a major Ukraine dam – suggesting it could be a war crime.

The Foreign Secretary, who was in Kyiv at the time, said the blowing up of the key site and hydroelectric power station on the Dnieper river is a ‘catastrophe’.

Ukrainian authorities have ordered hundreds of thousands of residents downriver of the area – controlled by Russian forces – to evacuate.

They have accused Moscow of setting off explosives inside the Kakhovka dam, but the Kremlin insists the damage was done by Ukrainian military strikes.

Shocking video footage showed houses being swept away and entire towns submerged as the water broke through. 

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who was visiting a mine-clearing operation near Kyiv today,  said the blowing up of the dam and hydroelectric power station on the Dnieper river is a ‘catastrophe’

Drone footage showed the extent of the flooding – water is seen flowing over the top of the damaged dam

James Cleverly tweeted: ‘The destruction of Kakhovka dam is an abhorrent act. 

‘Intentionally attacking exclusively civilian infrastructure is a war crime.

‘The UK stands ready to support Ukraine and those affected by this catastrophe.’

The Foreign Secretary stayed overnight in Kyiv, meeting his counterpart Dmytro Kuleba and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday.

Mr Zelensky accused Russian forces of setting off a blast inside the dam structure, warning that some 80 settlements were in danger.

Terrifying clips from the scene showed how village streets and fields near to the dam have already been swamped by runaway flooding, as a Russian-installed local mayor warned that the water level would continue to rise for another 72 hours and claimed he expected 40ft high floods in some places. 

‘Everything is going to die here,’ a man named Serhiy living in Kherson said. ‘All the living creatures, and people will be flooded out.

‘People will suffer. There’s already no water coming out of taps – why not, no one knows.’

Other Kherson residents said the water level in some parts of the city had already reached 9ft high and said they could see more water headed their way.

Ukrainian authorities have previously warned that the dam’s failure could unleash 18million cubic meters (4.8billion gallons) of water and flood Kherson and dozens of other towns and settlements, home to hundreds of thousands of people. 

The cause of the blasts is not yet clear, though Ukraine warned late last year that Russian forces had mined the dam as they retreated from Kherson and Ukraine’s state hydroelectric company said the plant was destroyed by an explosion in the engine room – suggesting it was attacked from within rather than by external strikes.

Meanwhile, Mr Cleverly – who today inspected mine-clearing operations near Kyiv – told reporters there was no difference between the UK and US over the use of donated equipment on cross-border raids against Russia.

This screen grab from a video posted on Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Twitter account on June 6, 2023 shows an aerial view of the dam of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station after it was partially destroyed

A drone camera showed the extent of the flooding – water is seen flowing over the top of the damaged dam

‘All countries, including the United Kingdom have put limitations on the military equipment that we have donated,’ he said.

‘And in most instances, that means that that equipment can only be used within Ukrainian territory and on that issue, the UK and the US are in exactly the same place.’

He told reporters that ‘we have always made it clear that we support Ukraine’s self-defence and, of course, the decisions about how Ukraine conducts that self-defence are rightly decisions which are made by Ukraine’s leadership’.

Mr Cleverly said he wanted the war to quickly come to a conclusion ‘which is fair, which is right for the people of Ukraine and, of course, is a conclusion which reinforces rather than undermines the UN Charter and the concept of sovereignty and territorial integrity’.

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