Ukraine war

Mines dislodged by Ukraine dam collapse could wash up on beaches – UN official

Mines dislodged by Ukraine dam collapse could wash up on beaches – UN official
Smoke rises in the distance following shelling beyond the destroyed Antonivsky Bridge in the Kherson region, Ukraine, 08 June 2023. Ukraine has accused Russian forces of destroying a critical dam and hydroelectric power plant on the Dnipro River in the Kherson region along the front line in southern Ukraine on 06 June, leading to the flooding of a number of settlements. EPA-EFE/MYKOLA TYMCHENKO

GENEVA, June 21 (Reuters) - A United Nations official said on Wednesday that the mines dislodged by the flood waters from Kakhovka dam in Ukraine could float downstream and reach as far as Black Sea beaches.

Paul Heslop, head of U.N. Mine Action at the United Nations Development Programme in Ukraine, told reporters in Geneva that PMF-1 mines, also known as “butterfly” mines, were light enough to float downstream for a large distance.

“I would not be surprised to see that those mines have either got down as far as the sea or over the coming months, as the water is continuing to flow, will be transported down there,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we could see anti-personnel pressure mines washing up on beaches around the Black Sea.”

Henslop said anti-tank mines, which are heavier than anti-personnel mines, were less likely to float long distances.

The collapse of the Russian-held dam on June 6 unleashed floodwaters across southern Ukraine and Russian-occupied areas of the Kherson region, killing more than 50 people and destroying homes and farmland.

Ukraine’s environment minister said on Tuesday that the dam’s collapse had caused 1.2 billion euros in damage.

Ukraine accuses Russia of blowing up the Soviet-era dam, which has been under Russian control since the early days of its invasion. The Kremlin has accused Kyiv of sabotaging the hydroelectric facility.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Emma Rumney)


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