A major dam is destroyed in Ukraine
The Kakhovka dam and electric plant in southern Ukraine was destroyed yesterday, sending torrents of water through the breach and forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate.
Russia and Ukraine blamed each other for the disaster, but it was not immediately clear who was responsible. Officials in Kyiv said Moscow’s forces had blown up the Russian-controlled dam on the Dnipro River in the predawn hours.
More than 40,000 people could be in the path of flooding, a Ukrainian official said. Here’s a map of the damage.
Downstream, residents described watching in horror as floodwaters swept past carrying trees and debris from washed-out houses. More than 1,300 people were evacuated, officials said, as conservationists warned of a huge and long-lasting environmental disaster. The waters are expected to peak today, an expert said.
“People here are shocked,” said my colleague Marc Santora, who was in southern Ukraine. “They’ve gotten used to all sorts of Russian bombardment, all sorts of horrors, but this is just so much bigger in both magnitude and the repercussions that it is going to have across society.”
The destruction of the dam came a day after U.S. officials said it appeared that a Ukrainian counteroffensive had begun. President Volodymyr Zelensky blamed “Russian terrorists.” The Kremlin’s spokesman said Ukraine had carried out a “sabotage” attack.
The dam supplies water for drinking and agriculture, and to cool reactors and spent fuel at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, but the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog said there was “no immediate nuclear safety risk.”
Analysis: The dam is far from the intensive fighting in the eastern Donetsk region. But its destruction could divert both sides’ resources from the counteroffensive.
Other worries: The destruction could also wash away underground mines that Russian and Ukrainian forces planted on the banks of the Dnipro, creating new hazards in once-safe areas.
“It is hard to overstate how surprising this news is,” my colleague Kevin Draper writes. The PGA Tour and LIV have spent the past two years competing with and suing each other. Some in the PGA had sharply criticized LIV, both for dividing golf and for associating with Saudi Arabia and its poor human rights record. All lawsuits will now end between the formal rivals.
Still, much remains unknown about the new golf company, which was created so quickly that it was announced before it even had a name. One thing is sure: LIV has gained a foothold that guarantees its outsize influence in the game’s future. The governor of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund will become the chairman of the new company.
Background: LIV lured some of the world’s most prominent players, some with contracts said to be worth $200 million, and offered tournament prize funds that were the richest in golf history. Tiger Woods, who rebuffed a nine-figure offer from LIV, has denigrated the league’s approach to competition.
Saudi ambitions: The kingdom’s wealth fund has bought a Premier League team and sponsors Formula 1 races. Saudi Arabia is also bidding to host soccer’s World Cup in 2030.
Harry has his day in court
Prince Harry took the stand in a London court to accuse the Mirror newspaper group of hacking his cellphone over a decade ago. He spent five hours airing grievances against the tabloids.
Harry said that some journalists “do have blood on their hands” and characterized their behavior as “utterly vile” and “criminal.” He said he had suffered “depression and paranoia” from the coverage. His testimony will continue today.
The court appearance was, in many ways, another chapter in what has become a life of litigation: Harry and his wife, Meghan, are plaintiffs in no fewer than seven cases against the tabloids and other news media organizations. Harry has also filed claims against the Home Office related to the loss of his police protection while in Britain.
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Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: Extensively praise (five letters).