Shocking: Kakhovka Dam Destroyed, Lives in Turmoil. Russia-Ukraine Conflict Escalates
June 07, 2023
A dam under Russian control near the Ukraine-Russia frontline, which serves as a crucial water source for southern Ukraine and Crimea, suffered severe damage early Tuesday, leading to widespread flooding and potential risks to a nearby nuclear power plant.
The Kakhovka dam, spanning 3.3 kilometers along the Dnipro River, was captured by Russian forces during their invasion in February 2022. The dam's reservoir plays a strategic role in providing drinking water to the Kherson region in southern Ukraine and the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula. The breach has raised fears of impeding Ukrainian forces seeking to reclaim lost territories.
Additionally, concerns have emerged regarding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe's largest nuclear facility, located in close proximity to the damaged dam. The flooding poses potential implications for the anticipated counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces against Russian-held territories.
The blame game between Ukraine and Russia continues, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accusing Russia of deliberately causing the dam collapse and calling for international attention to the issue. He labeled the incident as an act of terrorism and ecocide, emphasizing the need for Russia to be held accountable for its actions.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin alleges that Ukraine orchestrated the dam's destruction as part of their counteroffensive, following early setbacks. Russian-installed leaders in the Kherson region downplayed the severity of the situation, assuring the public that things were under control.
The impact of the dam catastrophe on the ongoing conflict remains uncertain. Military analysts have expressed differing views on the incident's implications for Ukraine's counteroffensive. Some speculate that the breach could be the result of previous shelling rather than a deliberate attack, as it would not be strategically advantageous for either side to undermine the dam.
Apart from the immediate consequences on human settlements, concerns arise for the local population and the environment. Over 22,000 residents in 14 areas on the left bank of the Dnipro River, controlled by Russia, are potentially at risk of flooding. Ukrainian officials estimate that approximately 16,000 people are in a critical flood zone. The spillage of 150 tons of engine oil into the river poses environmental hazards, leading to warnings of potential ecocide.
The situation has also raised fears of a nuclear incident due to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant's reliance on the Kakhovka reservoir for its cooling system. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has stated that there is no immediate nuclear safety risk at the plant, and the plant's director assures that the situation is under control. However, Ukraine's nuclear operator, Energoatom, cautions that the rapidly decreasing water level in the Kakhovka reservoir poses an additional threat to the plant.
The Kakhovka Dam catastrophe adds another layer of complexity to the Ukraine-Russia conflict, further intensifying concerns about the safety and well-being of the affected population and the potential environmental impact in the region.