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Ukraine says five killed, 13 missing in flooding since dam destroyed


KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine was evacuating more people on Friday from southern areas where officials said at least five people had been killed in flooding caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka dam.

Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said on the Telegram messaging app that four people had died and 13 people were missing in the Kherson region, and that one person had died in the Mykolayiv region.

A Russian-appointed official said eight people had died in Russian-held territory and more than 5,800 had been evacuated from their homes.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the authorities were working round the clock to save people.

“The evacuation continues. Wherever we can get people out of the flood zone, we are doing it,” Zelenskiy said.

He also posted photographs online showing flooded areas where emergency services workers were using boats to rescue people and animals.

“We are finding out more details about the damage Russia caused by this disaster,” he said.

Klymenko said 48 settlements in the Kherson region had been flooded, including 14 on territory occupied by Russia. In the Mykolayiv region, 23 villages and towns were flooded.

Ukraine has accused Russian forces of blowing up the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station and dam from inside the plant, which had been under Russian occupation since the early weeks of Russia’s invasion in February last year.

Moscow has blamed the destruction of the dam on Ukraine. Each side has accused the other of shelling civilians as rescue are carried out.

Natalia Humeniuk, spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command, said Russian forces were continuing to shell the Kherson region but that the frequency of shelling had dropped as the flooding had forced them to change position.

“Previously there were 70 to 80 incidents of shelling every day and (now) there are about 30 to 50,” she told a briefing.

Ukrainian forces took back kherson last November after more than eight months of Russian occupation.

(Reporting by Olena Harmash, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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