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One killed, 8 injured in Russian strikes at Kherson amid flood evacuation drills
Kyiv: Russian soldiers shelled Kherson in "targeted strikes" during evacuation operations on Thursday, leaving at least one person dead and 8 others injured, Al Jazeera reported citing Ukraine's Prosecutor General.
"The shelling began precisely during the evacuation of citizens whose homes were flooded," the Interior Ministry of Ukraine stated in a statement, according to Al Jazeera. "And it continues to prevent Ukraine from saving the most valuable - human lives," it added.
Evacuation efforts are underway in Kherson after the Nova Kakhovka dam, the largest reservoir in Ukraine in terms of volume collapsed after an explosion this week.
Kherson is located on the Dnipro River, approximately 60 kms (37 miles) downstream of the Kakhovka dam. Russia has already accused Ukrainian forces of shelling rescue personnel in Russian-occupied areas of the Kherson region.
More than 1,500 people have been evacuated from flooded areas of the Kherson region in Ukraine after the collapse of the Kakhovka Dam, CNN reported.
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By 11.30 am (local time), 1,548 individuals had been evacuated from Ukrainian-controlled flooded parts of the Kherson region, according to the State Emergency Services and National Police of Ukraine.
There are worries about an ecological disaster following the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam and hydroelectric power plant on Tuesday in Ukraine.
Residents downstream from the Nova Kakhovka dam on the Dnipro River in Kherson were told to "do everything you can to save your life", according to the head of Ukraine's Kherson region military administration.
The critical Nova Kakhovka dam is the largest reservoir in Ukraine in terms of volume. It's the last of the cascade of six Soviet-era dams on the Dnipro River, a major waterway running through southeastern Ukraine. There are multiple towns and cities downstream, including Kherson, a city of some 300,000 people, before Moscow's invasion of its neighbour, CNN reported.
The Ukrainian military intelligence said an explosion occurred at 2.50 am (local time) on Tuesday, when "Russian terrorists carried out an internal explosion of the structures of the Kakhovka hydro-electric power plant."
The Russian-installed mayor of Nova Kakhovka, Vladimir Leontiev, initially denied the dam had collapsed in an interview with Russian state media RIA Novosti, calling it "nonsense." He later confirmed the destruction of parts of the dam in what he called "a serious terrorist act" but said there was "no need to evacuate."
The Kremlin on Tuesday rejected the accusations. In his regular call with journalists, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claimed the attack was "planned and carried out by order received from Kyiv, from the Kyiv regime," aiming to "deprive Crimea of water".
The area around the dam has been one of the most heavily contested since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Kherson, which sits on the right bank of the Dnipro River, was liberated by the Ukrainian military in November after eight months of Russian occupation. (ANI)