Kyiv's claims of mines laid at Nova Kakhovka dam ‘false’: Russia
A Russian-installed official in the occupied part of Ukraine's Kherson region on Friday said that allegations by Kyiv that Russia has begun mining the Nova Kakhovka dam are “false”, state-owned news agency RIA reported.
RIA quoted Kirill Stremousov as denying suggestions by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Russia is planning to blow up the dam in order to flood parts of the Kherson region where its troops are under pressure from Ukrainian advances.
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Russia accused Kyiv earlier this week of rocketing the dam and planning to destroy it, in what Ukrainian officials called a sign that Moscow might blow it up and blame Kyiv. Neither side produced evidence to back up their allegations.
The vast Dnipro bisects Ukraine and is several kilometers wide in places. Bursting the dam could send a wall of water flooding settlements below it, toward the city of Kherson, which Ukrainian forces hope to recapture in a major advance.
It would also wreck the canal system that irrigates much of southern Ukraine, including Crimea, which Moscow seized in 2014.
The alarm has echoes of a World War Two disaster at another huge dam further upriver, which Ukrainian historians say was dynamited by Soviet sappers as their troops retreated, causing floods that swept away villages and killed thousands of people.
Zelenskyy called on world leaders to make clear that blowing up the dam would be treated “exactly the same as the use of weapons of mass destruction,” with similar consequences to those threatened if Russia uses nuclear or chemical weapons.
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