Russian occupation authorities have deliberately undercounted the number of people killed in deadly floods in Kherson Oblast which were caused as a result of the Kakhovka Dam destruction by Russian troops, an Associated Press investigation has found.
Russia has said 59 people drowned in the territory it controls, roughly 408 square kilometers of flooded areas.
However, in the town of Oleshky alone, which Ukrainian military officials estimate had a population of 16,000 at the time of the flooding, the number is at least in the hundreds.
The exact number of those who were killed in the city may never be known, even if Ukrainian forces retake the territory as Russia took away unidentified bodies and supposedly buried them in mass graves, according to the sources in Oleshky.
Moreover, when the Russian military blew up the dam on 6 June 6, and the water began submerging entire communities across the region, the Russian-appointed administration in Kherson told residents not to be alarmed.
As occupation authorities informed the residents of Kherson Oblast that the “situation is not critical,” many of them went about their normal day — walking dogs, going to work, and staying at home.
Later, as the water began to rise quickly, and people clung to their chimneys waiting to be saved, the authorities apparently fled, as well as police and prosecutors, earlier appointed by Moscow.