Kremlin Blocks Aid Workers From Reaching Ravaged Areas

( – The United Nations claimed on June 18 that the Russian government was denying aid workers access to the areas ravaged by the Kakhovka dam collapse in Ukraine. The international body said that it planned to go to these Russian-occupied areas to help residents that remain stranded after the “devastating destruction.”

In a statement, UN humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine Denise Brown said these civilians are currently facing severe shortages of food and water as well as a lack of electricity. Brown also urged Russian officials to respect the “international humanitarian law” and allow her team to access these areas.

In a June 19 press conference in Moscow, the Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov responded to her statement by saying that these aid workers can’t go to the areas. He said the Kremlin took this decision to protect these workers, citing armed fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops in these areas as a major safety concern.

In another part of the press conference, Peskov told reporters that Ukrainian troops are to blame for the crisis that these areas are currently facing. He said these troops have been “provoking” Russian authorities, as well as destroying civilian facilities and shooting civilians for no reason.

Peskov’s comments came after conflicting accounts from survivors about the quality of Russia’s assistance in the areas it is currently controlling. The dam is located in the Dnieper River, which acts as a dividing line between the Ukrainian and Russian troops on the western and eastern banks.

Different reports have shown that residents and evacuees have been accusing Russian officials of providing minimal or no assistance. Some of these people have even declared they were compelled to have Russian passports to leave the area.

In a June 19 statement, Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko said that 18 people have died and 31 are still missing after the dam collapse. He pointed out that 4 of the deceased died after being shot by Russian troops during evacuation.

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