The Nova Kakhovka hydroelectric dam, settled along the Dnipro River that separates Russian and Ukrainian forces in southern Ukraine, broke on Tuesday.
The resulting rush of water from the dam has flooded a large amount of the war zone in the Kherson region and forced nearby villagers to flee the area. Evacuation orders were issued on both sides as towns, streets, and homes became submerged by the powerful waters.
The dam breakage also affects drinking water in Crimea and the Zaporizhzhia power plant, which uses the reservoir water to cool its reactors. The UN nuclear watchdog said the plant should have enough water for “some months.”
Ukraine has explicitly blamed Russia for blowing up the dam, but the Kremlin throws the blame back. In fact, Russia said that Ukraine sabotaged the dam to distract from what appears to be a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the Bakhmut region.
The supposed Ukrainian counteroffensive has been speculated about for months. Although official reports aren’t confirming that Ukraine has launched its anticipated counteroffensive, the Ukrainian army did claim to be gaining ground on Monday in the Bakhmut area.
This area has been under a constant tug-of-war between Ukraine and Russian forces.
Most recently, the Wagner mercenary group, which works for the Kremlin, announced they had taken the city from Ukrainian defenders. Now, it appears as though the situation has flipped – with Ukraine mounting an offense to take back the area.
The city has been a strategic play for Russia, which looked to use the city’s capture as its first major victory in the war.
Elsewhere, Russia claimed it fended off another Ukrainian attack in the Donetsk region – killing 250 Ukrainians in the process. This claim has not been independently verified, and Ukraine says it is only a lie.
In other news, the Wagner mercenary group has forced a Russian lieutenant colonel to confess to opening fire on the private military company.
In the chilling video shared to Twitter, Lt. Col. Roman Venevitin, commander of Russia’s 72nd Brigade, is interrogated by a Wagner merc off-camera.
Venevitin confesses to firing on a Wagner-operated car while drunk “due to personal animosity.” In addition, he admitted to disarming a Wagner group with 10 to 12 other people.
The incident further highlights what appears to be continually growing tension between the Russian military and Wagner, which relies on Russian military ammo but operates independently.
Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin has also attempted to paint the Russian military as weak and inefficient, and has even criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin and other military leaders.