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White House says ‘likely many deaths’ in Ukraine dam destruction

At least five dead, 13 missing after dam breach: Ukraine minister
Source: Video Screenshot

The White House said Tuesday that there will be “likely many deaths” after an explosion destroyed a large dam in Ukraine, but added there is still no concrete evidence to say who was behind the act.

The United States “cannot say conclusively what happened at this point,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

Moscow and Kyiv traded blame for ripping a gaping hole in the Kakhovka dam in what Kyiv said was an attempt by Russia to hamper Ukraine’s long-awaited offensive. Russia occupied the dam in southern Ukraine soon after invading the country last year.

The resulting flood waters inundated a small city and two dozen villages, sparking evacuations of 17,000 people.

Kirby said “significant” damage had been inflicted and said an “explosion” was responsible. However, he was careful to stress that Washington is still studying the incident before identifying the perpetrator.

The United States hasn’t “come to a final conclusion,” he said. “We’re still trying to gather information and talk to the Ukrainians.”

Asked if attacking the dam would constitute a war crime, Kirby said “it’s very clear that the deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure is not allowed by the laws of war.”

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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