Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 of this year; since that time, death and destruction have torn the country apart.
Both sides lost tens of thousands of soldiers. Thousands of Ukrainian civilians are dead and millions of refugees fled to Poland and other nations.
Ukraine has fought back bravely, far exceeding expectations of how strongly they would be able to withstand Russia’s assault.
Despite annexing four Ukrainian territories, Putin is not succeeding in his main war aims. Some experts are worried he could now unleash a surprisingly powerful weapon: water.
Blowing Up Kakhovka Dam
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Putin may order the detonation and destruction of the Kakhovka dam near Kherson, Ukraine.
This would result in a complete tsunami of water full of 18 tons and leave hundreds of Ukrainian communities buried underwater, with untold hundreds of thousands homeless, dead, and injured.
This is a very populated area of Ukraine; if Russia blows up this dam, all hell could break loose.
Think tanks, such as the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), say Putin is very likely to blow up the dam as his forces pull out of the city of Kherson which they are currently occupying.
Doing this would completely devastate the region and stop Ukraine from having the resources and focus to chase Russian forces further into the Kherson state as they retain a foothold.
⚡️ISW: Russia will likely attempt to blow up Kakhovka Power Plant dam to cover withdrawal from Kherson.
The Institute for the Study of War said Russia may blow up the dam to prevent Ukraine's forces from pursuing Russian forces deeper into occupied Kherson Oblast.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) October 22, 2022
The Current Status of the Dam
The dam is currently packed with mines and ready to blow at Russian command. It is 100 feet in height and runs for two miles, supplying hydroelectric power to the region.
The reserve of water feeding this dam is massive and releasing it would flood massive parts of the region, including entire neighborhoods in occupied Kherson.
Zelensky has cautioned this would impact “hundreds of thousands” of people. As much as we all want this war to be over, it seems to only keep getting worse.
If this dam gets blown up, it would also deprive the nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia of water to cool its reactors and might lead to it blowing up.
This power plant has six times as many reactors as Chernobyl; if even one or two blow, we are looking at radiation poisoning and a nightmare scenario that is almost unimaginable to even think about.
If Putin and Russia blow up this dam, it would be a massive wave of water that destroys the lives and jobs of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians.
There's an information battle going on in Ukraine over the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant.
Russia is setting the information stage for carrying out a false flag on the plant's dam, creating a massive disaster in Kherson Oblast. Explainer: 1/11 https://t.co/ag5m6OLaYV
— Euan MacDonald (@Euan_MacDonald) October 22, 2022
The Bottom Line
Vladimir Putin clearly is willing to cross almost any line to make life a living hell for Ukraine. Keep your eyes on this story, because if his forces blow this dam, it will mark a major escalation in the war.
This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.