Ukraine evacuates thousands after key dam destroyed

Ukraine was evacuating thousands of people Wednesday after an attack on a major Russian-held dam unleashed a torrent of water, inundating two dozen villages and sparking fears of a humanitarian disaster.

Washington warned there would be "likely many deaths" as Moscow and Kiev traded blame for ripping a gaping hole in the Kakhovka dam, which is located on the frontline and provides cooling water for Europe's largest nuclear plant.

Kiev said the destruction of the dam -- seized by Russia in the early hours of the war -- was an attempt by Moscow to hamper its long-awaited offensive, which Ukraine's leader stressed would not be affected.

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Tuesday following requests from Russia and Ukraine.

"Today's news means the plight of the people in Ukraine is set to get even worse," the UN's top humanitarian official Martin Griffiths told the meeting.

The UN warned that hundreds of thousands could be affected on both sides of the frontline.

People in Kherson, the largest population centre nearby, headed for higher ground as water poured into the Dnipro River.

"There is shooting, now there is flooding," said Lyudmyla, who had loaded a washing machine onto a cart attached to an old Soviet car.

"Everything is going to die here," added Sergiy as water from the dam poured into the city, which was the scene of heavy fighting in 2022.

Ukrainian authorities said 17,000 people were being evacuated and a total of 24 villages had been flooded.

"Over 40,000 people are in danger of being flooded," Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said, adding that 25,000 more people needed to be evacuated on the Russian-occupied side of the Dnipro.

"The evacuation will continue...

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