Dmytro Kuleba made the remark via Twitter on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
Ukraine’s top diplomat wrote: “Russia destroyed the Kakhovka dam inflicting probably Europe’s largest technological disaster in decades and putting thousands of civilians at risk. This is a heinous war crime.”
Kuleba added: “The only way to stop Russia, the greatest terrorist of the 21st century, is to kick it out of Ukraine.”
Russia blew up the Nova Kakhovka dam on the Dnieper river, in the Moscow-occupied part of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, early on Tuesday morning, the Ukrainian authorities said.
The Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant, of which the dam was a part, has been completely destroyed in the process, the PAP news agency reported.
Water was flowing out of the dam’s 240-kilometre-long reservoir at a fast rate, and people were being evacuated from the potential flood zone on Dnieper’s right bank, according to officials.
The potential flood zone included the villages of Mykolaivka, Olhivka, Lvove, Tiahynka, Poniativka, Ivanivka, Tokarivka, Prydniprovske and Sadove, as well as Korabel Island in the regional capital Kherson City, the Ukrainska Pravda website reported.
‘Russia will be held accountable for this terrorist attack‘: Zelensky
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday held an emergency meeting of the country’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) to discuss response to the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam by Russian forces, the Ukrinform news agency reported.
Afterwards, Zelensky said on the Telegram social messaging app: "I held an urgent meeting of the National Security and Defense Council. Overnight at 02:50, Russian terrorists carried out an internal detonation of the structures of the Kakhovka HPP [hydroelectric power plant]. About 80 settlements are in the flooding zone."
He added that an order had been given to carry out evacuation from risk areas and to provide drinking water to all cities and villages that had been supplied with water from the Kakhovka Reservoir, according to the PAP news agency.
Zelensky stated: "We are doing everything to save people. All services, military, government, the [President's] Office are involved."
Ukraine’s president added that a set of international and security measures was agreed upon at the NSDC meeting “to hold Russia accountable for this terrorist attack,” Ukrinform reported.
'Biggest man-made environmental disaster in Europe in decades'
Zelensky later told the Bucharest Nine summit in Bratislava, Slovakia that the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam "is the biggest man-made environmental disaster in Europe in decades."
Kakhovka dam ‘remotely detonated’ by Russia: Ukrainian intelligence
Meanwhile, Andriy Yusov, spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence agency (GUR), said there was evidence that Russia had carried out a “remote detonation” of the Nova Kakhovka dam, the PAP news agency reported.
Speaking live on Ukrainian television, Yusov said: "There are facts and evidence of the movement of explosives and relevant equipment by the Russians to carry out a controlled remote explosion."
Dam blast 'won’t stop our counteroffensive’: Ukrainian army
Commenting on the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam, Ukraine’s army said on Tuesday that Russia's "deceitful actions won’t stop the Armed Forces of Ukraine," which “are ready to liberate” occupied areas from Russia, the PAP news agency reported.
“The deceitful actions of the opponent, who is creating social and economic crises, won’t stop the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the Strategic Communications Directorate of Ukraine’s army said on Telegram.
It added that "the Armed Forces of Ukraine are ready to liberate occupied territories,” the PAP news agency reported.
The Ukrainian army also said that “Ukraine has all the possible watercraft and pontoon crossings designed to surmount water obstacles,” according to PAP.
Meanwhile, Natalia Humenyuk, spokeswoman for the Defense Forces of Southern Ukraine, said Russian forces “blew up the Nova Kakhovka dam thinking they could stop Ukraine’s promised counteroffensive in this way.”
Humenyuk added: “They lost their nerve and are trying to expand the water area to discourage Ukrainian forces from crossing it,” as quoted by the PAP news agency.
Nova Kakhovka Dam
Built in 1956, the Nova Kakhovka dam on the Dnieper river is 30 metres tall and 3.2 kilometres long, and forms part of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, according to the Reuters news agency.
The dam holds a reservoir about the size of America’s Great Salt Lake and also provides water to Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, and to the Moscow-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, news outlets reported.
Tuesday is day 468 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Source: PAP, Ukrainska Pravda, Ukrinform, wpolityce.pl