Ukrainians trapped by the floods in occupied territory have been “abandoned” by Russian authorities, new footage from the area has shown. Videos posted to social media show desperate civilians waving at Ukrainian military drones from their roof in Oleshki, a Russian-occupied town near to where the Kakhovka dam was blown up on Tuesday, pleading for help but unable to be reached by Ukrainian evacuators.
Separate footage showed a lone man in Nova Kakhovka, the closest city to the destroyed dam, looking desultory in the occupied territory as his dog haplessly played in the flooded courtyard in front of their apartment block.
Roughly 42,000 civilians on either side of the Dnipro River, which demarcates the Russian-occupied territory to the south east of the Ukrainian positions in the north west, have been affected by the waters flooding from the destroyed dam.
Oleksandr Prokudin, head of the Kherson regional administration, said 1,852 houses had been flooded on the western bank of the river and 1,457 people had been evacuated. On the other side, Nova Kakhovska’s Russia-appointed mayor, Vladimir Leontyev, said seven people were missing but early signs indicated that they could be alive.
Officials in Russia-controlled parts of Kherson region said 900 Nova Kakhovka residents were evacuated, including 17 rescued from the tops of flooded buildings.
The Russia-installed officials said water levels appeared to be receding on Wednesday but overnight the floods reached critical levels in several settlements downstream of the dam. While authorities announced a state of emergency across the Russian-held territories and spoke of organised evacuations, as of Wednesday there were no images on local social media of any formal evacuation process.
Commentators on social media have accused Russian troops of “simply abandoning these people to fate” after a spate of videos emerged on social media showing desperate civilians trapped by the floods.
A couple was seen waving from a small window out of their roof in one video, which caused fury on Ukrainian cyberspace, as the defending forces were unable to reach them.
Anton Geraschenko, a government advisor, accused the Russian officials of “continuing to lie that the situation is under control and that none of the local residents have asked for help”.
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Ukraine has accused Russian forces of blowing up the dam and adjoining hydroelectric power station, which sits in an area Moscow has controlled for more than a year.
Russian officials blamed Ukrainian bombardment in the contested area, where the river separates the two sides.
Residents on either side of the river sloshed through knee-deep waters in inundated homes as videos posted on social media showed scenes including rescue workers carrying people to safety and what looked like the triangular roof of an entire building that had been uprooted drifting downstream.
Footage taken from the air showed waters filling the streets of Russian-controlled Nova Kakhovka on the eastern side of the river.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense, which has regularly issued updates about the war, said the Kakhovka reservoir was at “record high” water levels before the breach.
While the dam wasn’t entirely washed away, the ministry warned that its structure “is likely to deteriorate further over the next few days, causing additional flooding.”
Together with the power station, the dam helps provide electricity, irrigation and drinking water to a wide swath of southern Ukraine, including the Crimean Peninsula, which was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.
Government and UN officials have warned of a human and ecological disaster, with the full extent of the repercussions set to take days to assess and even longer to overcome.