More than 100 men were flooded after cruise missiles hit a dam in central Ukraine – as its president Volodymyr Zelenskyy was involved in a car crash.
The city of Kryvyi Rih was targeted by eight cruise missiles that destroyed a water pumping station and caused the Inhulets River to break through, officials said.
It came during a night in which Mr. Zelenskyy’s office said his car had collided with a private vehicle in the capital.
“The president was examined by a doctor, no serious injuries were found,” presidential spokesman Serhii Nykyforov said in a Facebook post early on Thursday.
The driver of the other vehicle was treated by the president’s medical team and was taken to hospital, he said.
The Ukrainian president, who has been key to the Ukrainian fight against the Russian invasion, spent the day on Wednesday in the Kharkiv region but had returned to Kyiv.
No more details about the crash were released, but he put out his nightly statement later than normal.
In his address, he referred to the airstrikes that hit the dam, 93 miles southwest of Dnipro.
The strikes hit the Karachunov reservoir dam, Mr Zelenskyy said, and the water system had “no military value” other than providing hundreds of thousands of civilians with water.
Head of the Kryvyi Rih military administration, Oleksandr Vilkul, said in a post on Telegram that 112 men were flooded but that work was under way to repair the dam and “flooding was receding”.
On Wednesday, Mr Zelenskyy made a surprise visit to Izyum – one of the many towns or villages the Ukrainians have retaken in recent days – where he watched the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag raised in front of the charred city council building.
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After his return, Mr Zelenskyy said on Telegram: “History is written by people, never by savages.
“Events show that the only way out for Russian soldiers is to surrender to Ukrainian forces. This is the only option that guarantees them life and attitude in accordance with all conventions.
“Striking targets that have no military value at all, in fact hitting hundreds of thousands of ordinary civilians, is another reason why Russia will lose. And not just this war, but history itself.”
He added in his nightly video address that towns and villages recaptured from Russian forces he visited had been devastated.
He said overnight: “They only destroyed, only deprived, only took away. They left behind devastated villages, and in some of them, there is not a single undamaged house.
“The occupiers left schools turned into garbage dumps, and churches – broken, literally turned into toilets.”
Later, in his first post of the morning, he said he had had a virtual meeting with British actor Benedict Cumberbatch.
The Marvel star told Sky News in April he was waiting for a Ukrainian family to arrive in the UK to live at his property after joining the scheme to rehouse refugees.
Mr Zelenskyy posted on his Telegram feed after the meeting: “I’ve had a conversation with the British actor Benedict Cumberbatch. I am sincerely grateful to him for solidarity with our state and our people.
“It is important that the topic of Ukraine remains the key one. And such famous people help us get through to those nations whose government does not support Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military claimed it killed a number of Russian troops and destroyed equipment in the Bakhmut area in the eastern Donetsk region. It added that Russian troops were trying to bolster their defensive positions in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions.
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping to discuss Ukraine and Taiwan at a meeting in Uzbekistan which the Kremlin said would hold “special significance” given the geopolitical situation.
As they do so, at a summit that involves a number of Asian and Arab countries, Ukraine has asked the United Nations General Assembly to allow Mr. Zelenskyy to address world leaders via video.
In the US, Democratic and Republican senators introduced legislation that would designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, a label opposed by the administration of President Joe Biden.