Ukrainian forces could cause catastrophic damage by blowing up two major dams on the Dnieper River. Any dam breaches would flood a massive region, including the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, a senior official in Russia’s Zaporozhye region has warned.
“I cannot rule out that they will try to combine two scenarios. First, they could blow up Dnieproges, and later the Kakhovka hydropower plant,” Vladimir Rogov told TASS on Monday.
Dnieproges, or the Dnieper Hydroelectric Power Plant, is located in the Kiev-controlled city of Zaporozhye, upstream from Energodar, which hosts the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). If the dam were breached, the city and the nuclear facility would be flooded, Rogov explained.
The Kakhovskaya hydroelectric dam is further downstream in Kherson Region but is crucial for the NPP to feed its cooling systems.
The hydropower plant has been the focus of mutual accusations by Moscow and Kiev officials. Last week Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed that Russian forces had planted explosives and were preparing to blow it up and urged an international monitoring mission to visit the facility.
Russian officials accused Ukrainian troops of deliberately targeting the dam. Further down the Dnieper is the city of Kherson, which would be flooded, if the Kakhovskaya barrier was breached. The city is located on the Western bank of the river and may come under intensive Ukrainian fire as Kiev seeks to capture it from Russia, according to regional officials.