Tue, 05 Dec 2023

Zelensky 'shocked at cold shoulder from UN

08 Jun 2023, 08:13 GMT+10

The Ukrainian president has accused the organization of ignoring Kiev's pleas in the wake of the Kakhovka dam catastrophe

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has blasted the UN as well as the Red Cross for alleged inaction amid the flooding caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka dam. He also insisted that Ukraine does not stand to gain anything militarily from the presumed act of sabotage that Kiev and Moscow are blaming on each other.

In an interview with Germany's BILD media outlet on Wednesday, Zelensky said that even though the disaster has been going on for many hours now, the UN and the Red Cross "are not there." The Ukrainian head of state stressed that the two organizations are supposed to be the first ones "to save human lives."

"We have received no response [to our requests for help]. I am shocked," he added.

According to Zelensky, both organizations have essentially washed their hands of the situation.

The Ukrainian president also dismissed claims that the destruction of the dam had given his military an advantage. Whether it has ended up worse off as a result is "hard to tell," Zelensky told reporters.

He went on to emphasize that the hydroelectric power plant is presently held by Russian forces, so that Kiev cannot back up its accusations against Moscow with material evidence.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in turn, blamed the "barbaric act" on Ukraine and its Western backers. Earlier, Moscow strongly denied that its troops had blown up the dam.

In his statement on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the destruction of the dam as a "monumental humanitarian, economic and ecological catastrophe."

He stopped short of apportioning the blame, noting that the "United Nations has no access to independent information on the circumstances" that led to the incident.

Guterres also said that the UN "and humanitarian partners are rushing support in coordination with the Government of Ukraine" to the affected areas.

The Red Cross, for its part, said in a tweet on Wednesday that its "colleagues from Red Cross Ukraine are working around the clock to assist and evacuate communities affected by the flooding after the destruction of the Nova Kakhokva dam."

The aid group added that it is looking at ways it "can best support the humanitarian response."

The Kakhovka dam was partially ruptured on Tuesday morning, causing flooding in multiple towns and villages along the path of the Dnieper River.


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