Volodymyr Zelensky has claimed that Russia have planted explosives at the Kakhovka dam on the Dnieper river. The dam is currently under Russian occupation and Zelensky believes that they are preparing to blow it up.
The dam is part of a hydroelectric plant, and if it were to be blown up then it would be a disaster for Ukraine. There are about 80 settlements that would be directly at risk of being flooded if the dam was destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of people would be directly affected.
A third of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has already been destroyed in the war. This is going to cause real problems in providing electricity and heating during the winter months. The people of Ukraine have already been asked to try and limit their energy use during the hours of 07:00 to 23:00. The destruction of the dam would not only reduce the amount of hydroelectric power that can be used, but also nuclear power as well. Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, in Zaporizhzhia, gets its supply of cooling water from the Dnieper river.
Russia have not made any official comment on their plans for the dam, but the areas that would be most affected are under their control. This may be enough for now to stop them detonating any explosives, but it is a situation that needs to be carefully monitored.