The zoo has been closed for three weeks as Russian forces try to push through the city towards Ukraine's main port city of Odessa to the southwest


  • A Ukrainian journalist and animal rights group said most of the animals in the Kazkova Dibrova Zoo likely died
  • UAnimals said "only the swans and ducks" could be saved
  • Nova Kakhovka's mayor said Russian forces barred zoo employees from entering the zoo before the flood

A zoo in Ukraine was flooded after the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam in the country's temporarily Russian-occupied Kherson region Tuesday, according to reports.

The Kazkova Dibrova Zoo contained 260 animals as of February 2022, RBC Ukraine reported. Journalist Andriy Smoliy said on his Telegram account that some of the animals have likely died as a result of the manmade disaster.

UAnimals, an animal rights organization, confirmed the deaths of some animals, writing in a Facebook post that the zoo was "completely flooded" and that "only the swans and ducks could be saved."

"We tried our best to save the zoo under occupation. Now, it no longer exists," a source in the zoo's management whose name was withheld for security reasons told UAnimals.

Nova Kakhovka Mayor Volodymyr Kovalenko said in an interview with that the zoo was one of the first establishments to be flooded after the Kakhovka dam was destroyed.

"It's hard for me to say what the fate of the animals is. Because the Russians didn't allow zoo employees to go there overnight. In the morning, the workers went there, but they were unable to enter due to the water," Kovalenko claimed, according to independent news outlet Meduza.

Kovalenko also said in a separate interview with Ukrainska Pravda that they are having difficulty getting information from the city due to connectivity problems. The Ukrainian mayor speculated that Russian forces may have begun jamming signals to prevent residents from accessing information.

On Tuesday, a torrent of water burst through the massive dam on the Dnipro River that separates Russian and Ukrainian forces in southern Ukraine after Russia allegedly blew it up.

Ukraine and its Western allies quickly blamed Russia for the incident, calling it a deliberate war crime.

A furious Volodymyr Zelensky called Russia "terrorists" on his Telegram account, adding that the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam "only confirms for the whole world that they must be expelled from every corner of Ukrainian land."

The Ukrainian president alleged that Russia "carried out an internal detonation of the structures" of the dam.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO's secretary general, called the incident "an outrageous act."

However, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claimed that the dam breach was a "deliberate sabotage by the Ukrainian side."

"Apparently, this sabotage is also connected with the fact that having started large-scale offensive actions two days ago, now the Ukrainian armed forces are not achieving their goals, these offensive actions are faltering," Peskov alleged.

Martin Griffiths, a U.N. undersecretary-general and emergency relief coordinator, warned of "grave and far-reaching consequences for thousands of people" living near the river.

Ukraine estimated about 42,000 people were at risk from the flooding, which is expected to peak on Wednesday.

Ukraine and Russia traded blame for damage to the Kakhovka dam