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Video shows floods pouring into southern Ukraine’s war zone after a major dam was blown up, sparking a new flashpoint in the war

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The Nova Kakhovka Dam in Kherson on June 5.The Nova Kakhovka Dam in Kherson on June 5.

Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

  • The Kakhovka dam was destroyed on Tuesday, releasing a flood of water into southern Ukraine.
  • Russia and Ukraine are accusing each other of blowing up the dam.
  • Its destruction poses dire consequences to the millions living to its south, and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

A major hydroelectric dam in Russian-occupied Kherson was destroyed on Tuesday, spilling torrents of water into residential areas and the war zone.

Footage shows torrents of water from the Kakhovka Reservoir draining rapidly into the Dnipro River.

—OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) June 6, 2023

Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the breach. 

“The Russian occupation troops destroyed the Kashkova hydroelectric station,” said the Southern Command of Ukraine’s forces on its Facebook page. “The scale of the destruction, the speed and volumes of water, and the likely areas of inundation are being specified.”

The Russian mayor of the occupied Novaya Kakhovka region, Vladimir Leontyev, told state media that the dam was destroyed as part of a “terrorist act,” a term often used by the Kremlin to describe Ukrainian attacks.

Hours before, Leontyev had said reports of the explosion were “nonsense.”

Russian TV host Vladimir Solovyov, a war propagandist on one Russia’s biggest channels, also accused Ukraine of blowing up the dam.

—OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) June 6, 2023

The direct consequences of the breach aren’t immediately clear. The Kakhovka Reservoir holds around 18.2 cubic kilometers of water, or 4 trillion gallons.

The reservoir serves as the primary water supply for cooling the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which is further to the north-east and is also controlled by Russia.

Should the reservoir drain too much, it would present serious risks to the safety of the plant, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in February.

The Kakhovka Reservoir also supplies water to millions of people in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

The dam’s destruction will likely have a significant impact on Ukraine’s anticipated big counteroffensive, according to Mark Hertling, former Commanding General of the United States Army Europe and the US Seventh Army. 

Dozens of cities on both sides of the Dnipro will be flooded in the next 24 hours, tweeted Hertling.

Kyiv has not revealed when it will launch its attack, but has repeatedly hinted at a coming mass offensive.

A worst-case illustrative model of the dam’s breach, created by Swedish outlet Cornucopia in October, shows significant flooding across Kherson, home to hundreds of thousands of people.

—OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) June 6, 2023

Around 14 Russian-occupied settlements are expected to be impacted by flooding, Russian authorities said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in October estimated that some 80 towns would be affected by the dam’s destruction. Back then, he also accused Moscow of mining the dam.

The Ukrainian leader said he’s called an emergency meeting with his National Security and Defense Council.

Oleksandr Prokudin, the Ukrainian governor of Kherson, told residents to immediately prepare to evacuate.

“In five hours, the water will reach a critical level,” he said in a video.

Blowing up the dam likely constitutes a war crime, according to the Geneva Conventions. The Conventions allow exceptions for such an attack only if the facility is solely or regularly used for military purposes.

Read the original article on Business Insider