UPDATE 1 – At UN, Ukraine and Russia blame each other for dam burst, US ‘not sure’

(Recast, adds additional comment from US, Russia, Ukraine, UN comment)

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS, June 6 (Reuters) – The United States said on Tuesday it was “not sure” of the origin of a dam failure in Ukraine, but said it would not make sense Ukraine has done this to its own people and territory. , as kyiv and Moscow blamed each other for the disaster.

The 15-member UN Security Council met on Tuesday at the request of Russia and Ukraine after a torrent of water broke through a massive dam on the Dnipro River that separates the opposing forces in southern Ukraine.

Asked if the United States knew who was responsible, US Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Robert Wood told reporters ahead of the council meeting: “We’re not sure of the everything, we hope to have more information in the next few days.”

“But, I mean, come on…why would Ukraine do this to its own territory and its people, flood its lands, force tens of thousands of people from their homes – it just doesn’t make sense “Wood said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said earlier on Tuesday that the world body had no independent information on how the dam burst, but described it as “another devastating consequence of the ‘Russian invasion of Ukraine’.

Many members of the Security Council also claimed at Tuesday’s meeting that the crisis would not have happened if Russia had not invaded neighboring Ukraine in February last year.

Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia blamed Ukraine, without providing evidence, accusing it of trying to create “favorable opportunities” for it to regroup its military units to pursue a counter-terrorism. offensive.

“The deliberate sabotage undertaken by Kyiv against a critical infrastructure facility is extremely dangerous and can essentially be classified as a war crime or an act of terrorism,” Nebenzia told the council.

The Ukrainian ambassador to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, accused Russia of a “terrorist act against Ukrainian critical infrastructure”, without providing evidence.

“It is physically impossible to blow it up from the outside by shelling – it was mined by the Russian occupiers and they blew it up,” Kyslytsya said.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told the Security Council that “the scale of the disaster will only be fully realized in the coming days”.

“But it is already clear that this will have serious and far-reaching consequences for thousands of people in southern Ukraine on both sides of the frontline due to the loss of homes, food, drinking water and livelihoods,” he added. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Ismail Shakil and Jamie Freed)

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