MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. A national park in the city of Novaya Kakhovka in the Kherson Region has been submerged under water after the dam collapsed at the city’s hydroelectric power plant, resulting in the deaths of thousands of animals, Mayor Vladimir Leontyev said on Wednesday.
"The Nizhnedneprovsky national park has been inundated and the thousands of animals who were housed there have perished," Leontyev told the Rossiya-24 TV channel.
Earlier, Ukrainian media reports said beavers, swans and dogs had died in Novaya Kakhovka. The reports claimed that a zoo containing around 300 animals had been flooded. However, a spokesperson for the city’s emergency services told TASS that the reports were untrue.
The city mayor explained that last year all animals from the Kazkova Dibrova zoo were evacuated and put under the care of volunteers.
"There was a national park before the flooding: Red Book birds, roe deer, beavers, boars - a huge fauna. People came there in order to take care of them. So, these animals, thousands of them, have been wiped out. Nesting sites and clutches of eggs have been destroyed," he said.
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Victoria Abramchenko has condemned the actions of the Kiev regime, which destroyed the Kakhovka hydro plant and "committed real ecocide" in the Kherson Region.
"Today, several settlements have been inundated, the floods pose a threat to more than 20,000 civilians, including children. Waste facilities, burial grounds and sewage treatment plants have been submerged under water. Animals have been killed. <...> This crime by the Kiev regime must be considered and condemned on the UN platform," Abramchenko told the upper house, the Federation Council, on Wednesday.
According to her, several unique natural sites rest on the inundated territory, including the Nizhnedneprovsky national park and Gileya, which now will have no chance of being used for recreation for a long time to come.
Ukrainian forces shelled the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) in the early morning hours on June 6, which resulted in the collapse of the hydraulic sluice gate valves on the plant’s dam, triggering an uncontrolled discharge of water. Water levels in Novaya Kakhovka reached 12 meters but are now receding. According to emergency services, there are 15 settlements in the flood zone. The residents of nearby communities are being evacuated. The destruction of the power generation facility has seriously damaged the environment, washing away farmland along the Dnieper River and threatening water levels in the North Crimean Canal. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed that the attack on the Kakhovka HPP was a premeditated act of sabotage. He added that the responsibility for its consequences fully lies with the Kiev regime.