Ukraine says Russian missile strikes have broken a major dam in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, the latest attack from Moscow in a series of bombardments on civilian infrastructure.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday that Russia targeted the Karachunivske Reservoir, adding that it had no military value and the strikes would only impact local civilians.
The strikes destroyed a water pumping station and flooded the embankments, which are just a few meters from residential buildings, according to Ukrainian legislator Inna Sovsun.
Water leaked into the Inhulets River – the right tributary of the Dnipro River in southeastern Ukraine. Residents in districts across Kryvyi Rih were asked to evacuate their homes on Thursday to avoid flood-risk.
A regional official said Thursday that the water level in the Inhulets River had dropped by 40 centimeters (16 inches) and continues to fall, and thanked emergency workers for their efforts overnight.
“Thank you to the rescuers, emergency services and everyone who worked through the night and continues to work now. Each of you did an incredible job,” Valentyn Reznichenko, the head of the Dnipropetrovsk region civil military administration, said in a Telegram post.
Following the attack, Zelensky delivered a pointed message to Moscow in which he referred to the Russian military as “weaklings.”
“Your missile attacks today, Russian missiles targeting Kryvyi Rih, the dam of the Karachunivske Reservoir, the objects that have no military value at all, in fact hitting hundreds of thousands of ordinary civilians, is another reason why Russia will lose. And not just this war, but history itself,” he said in his nightly address on Wednesday.
“History is written by people, never by savages. Who will you remain in history? All those who launch these missiles. Those who came to our land. Weaklings. You are weaklings waging a war against civilians.”
“Scoundrels who, having fled the battlefield, are trying to do harm from somewhere far away. You will remain terrorists whom their own grandchildren will be ashamed of,” he added.
Moscow’s attack comes days after a Russian missile strike hit a power and heating plant in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, leaving many without power.
During his visit to the newly liberated Izium on Wednesday, Zelensky said he was “shocked” by the levels of destruction left by Russian forces following their months-long occupation of the city in Kharkiv.