Kakhovka dam destroyed in Ukraine-Russia conflict

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Kakhovka Dam. Picture source: MAXAR Technologies.

6th June 2023 – (Moscow) The Kakhovka Dam, a 30-meter-tall, 3.2-kilometer-long dam built in 1956 on the Dnipro river, was destroyed on Tuesday (June 6) in the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Both sides have blamed the other for the destruction of the dam, which unleashed a flood of water across the war zone. Unverified videos on social media showed a series of intense explosions around the Kakhovka Dam, as well as water surging through the remains of the dam, and bystanders expressing their shock.

Kherson’s governor said the evacuation of areas near the Kakhovka region has begun, and within five hours, the water will reach a critical level. Emergency services have reported that some 80 settlements in the area may be affected by the destruction of the dam.

The dam held an 18 km3 reservoir that supplied water to the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014, and to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which is also under Russian control. However, Russia’s TASS state agency reported that there was no critical danger yet to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant due to the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka Dam.

Both sides of the conflict have given conflicting accounts of how the dam was destroyed. Ukraine’s military said that Russian forces blew up the dam, while Russian news agencies said the dam, controlled by Russian forces, had been destroyed in shelling, and a Russian-installed official said it was a terrorist attack – Russian shorthand for an attack by Ukraine. TASS, however, cited an unnamed source close to the matter, who said that there were no air strikes on the dam overnight.