Ukrainian forces secured management of areas retaken from Russia in a significant victory for Kyiv as extra troops headed in direction of Kherson Metropolis on Saturday, however harm to a significant dam north-east of town highlighted the risks posed by Moscow’s retreat.
Pictures from US satellite tv for pc firm Maxar Imagery, taken on Friday morning native time, confirmed appreciable harm to the Nova Kakhovka dam, “with sections of the dam and sluice gates destroyed”, the corporate mentioned on Twitter. The highway over the dam had been a final remaining crossing for Russian forces.
It was unclear on Saturday whether or not the dam’s structural integrity was threatened. Neither facet took accountability for the harm. Ukrainian officers and navy analysts have anxious for weeks about what retreating Russian troops would possibly do to the important infrastructure, with presumably catastrophic outcomes.
Ukrainian officers had warned Russia towards blowing up the dam fully over fears that doing so may trigger large flooding and destruction in addition to threaten the water provide to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear energy plant. Russia has additionally accused Ukraine of planning to explode the dam.
Russia mentioned on Friday its forces had accomplished its retreat from town, the one provincial capital it had captured within the battle.
US nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan on Saturday referred to as Russia’s retreat “exceptional”.
“It does look as if the Ukrainians have simply gained a unprecedented victory the place the one regional capital that Russia had seized on this battle is now again below a Ukrainian flag,” he advised reporters travelling with US president Joe Biden.
He mentioned Russia’s retreat had “broader strategic implications,” as a result of Russia’s diminished place reduces the risk to key cities like Odesa.
“Having the ability to push the Russians throughout the river implies that the longer-term risk to locations like Odesa and the Black Sea shoreline are decreased from the place they have been earlier than,” he mentioned.
Reviews of injury to the dam got here as the final workers of Ukraine’s armed forces mentioned it was conducting “stabilisation measures” close to Kherson on Saturday, utilizing a navy time period to explain efforts to revive security to areas beforehand below enemy management. Particular forces have been already in Kherson Metropolis, with extra troops on the way in which.
Different bridges throughout the Dnipro River have additionally been broken, together with the Antonivsky bridge, the principle crossing over the Dnipro. Video footage posted by Russian navy bloggers on Telegram on Friday confirmed the bridge had plunged into the river, forcing some Russian troops to cross on pontoons.
Ukrainian officers have urged warning as its navy enters Kherson metropolis and warned that Russian forces should not but fully gone. Ukraine’s defence intelligence mentioned on Friday it suspected that remaining Russian forces had wearing civilian garments to attempt to keep away from being captured.
“Our defenders are approaching town; there’s nonetheless fairly a bit left and we’re beginning to enter,” Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentioned on Friday. “Particular items are already within the metropolis.”
He mentioned as soon as forces reached town they might begin efforts to clear town of mines and make it accessible once more.
Photographs and movies of jubilant Kherson residents continued to be circulated on social media on Saturday, with residents within the metropolis’s central sq. waving blue and yellow Ukrainian flags, draping the flags round themselves and hugging troopers.
Kherson metropolis has been with out energy, water or cellular community for a number of days.