A top Moscow-backed official in part of Ukraine controlled by Russia has said that the collapse of the giant Nova Kakhovka Dam had handed the Russian military a tactical advantage.
Ukraine and Russia blame each other for the dam's destruction, which has sent floodwaters across a war zone and forced thousands to flee. Some experts say the dam may have collapsed due to earlier damage and intense pressure on it.
Advantage to the Russian military
Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-installed governor of part of Ukraine's southern Kherson region controlled by Moscow, said he believed Kyiv was to blame for the disaster, but that the tragedy had handed an advantage to the Russian military.
"In military terms, the situation has worked out in a way that is operationally and tactically in favor of Russian forces," Saldo told pro-Kremlin TV presenter Vladimir Solovyov.
He said the dam's destruction and resulting floodwaters would make it easier for Russia to defend against any Ukrainian counter-offensive in the area.
"They (the Ukrainians) have hurt themselves by doing this. Their calculation was that by blowing up the dam they would give some strategic or operational advantage to the Ukrainian armed forces. But they will not be able to do anything," he said.
"Our armed forces now have an open space in front of them across which they can see who is trying to cross the Dnipro River and how. ... And it will be impossible for them to get through via the Kakhovka reservoir if they try."
Moscow controls the left (east) bank of the Dnipro while Ukrainian forces are deployed on its right (west) bank.