Russia-Ukraine War Crucial Dam Destroyed on Southern Ukraine’s Front Lines

Ukraine blamed Russia for destroying the barrier, which feeds water to cool a nearby nuclear plant. Though images confirmed the destruction, it was unclear who was responsible.


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A critical dam and hydroelectric power plant along the front line in southern Ukraine have been destroyed, videos verified by The New York Times show.

In the footage, a significant volume of water is flowing freely through the Kakhovka dam and power plant, which has been split in half. Russia took control of the plant and dam, which are located on the Dnipro River near the city of Kherson, last year.,vid:1j5s2XBJ5FQ

Experts who have researched the dam say that the destruction could be catastrophic. The dam, which is under Russian control, manages a reservoir that supplies water for drinking, agriculture and the cooling of a nearby nuclear power plant.

David Helms, a former U.S. Air Force and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologist, said that communities along the occupied Russian side of the waterway risk being flooded and swept away. The destruction also poses significant risk to nearby ports and grain silos, as well as the surrounding ecosystem. “It’s just vast the amount of damage and harm, between communities, irrigation and transportation,” he said.

The visuals do not provide insight into what caused the damage. Ukraine’s southern military command blamed Russian troops for the destruction.

Vladimir Leontiev, the Russian-appointed mayor of Nova Kakhovka, where the hydroelectric power plant is, said the plant was damaged by shelling but denied that the dam had been destroyed, according to RIA Novosti, a Russian state news agency. He said water levels south of the dam rose by about eight feet, according to RIA.

Both the Ukrainian military and the local Ukrainian governor posted evacuation instructions early Tuesday for people in the city of Kherson in the event of an explosion at the hydroelectric power plant. Ukraine’s National Police and State Emergency Services were evacuating civilians in flood zones on the right bank of the Dnipro River, including parts of Kherson and 10 villages, Ukraine’s Internal Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

The infrastructure surrounding the dam has sustained damage throughout the war. Satellite imagery confirms new damage to the bridge next to the dam sustained from June 1 to 2, days before Tuesday’s destruction.

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