Ukraine, because the Kakhovka dam is strategic and so important

30 meters high, with its basin it guarantees the water supply to the Crimea and to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

Built in 1956 30 kilometers east of Kherson, the Nova Kakhovka Dam on the Dnieper River is 30 meters high and several hundred meters wide and its reservoir holds about 18 cubic km of water, the same volume as the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

Its damage and eventual destruction, for which Kiev and Moscow are blaming each other, could then lead to flooding of the surrounding area, including Kherson, which the Ukrainians retook in late 2022.

Because it is important

The dam and its reservoir guarantee the water supply to Crimea, annexed by Russia since 2014, and to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, as well as feeding the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant. Also of great strategic importance, the dam was occupied by the Russians soon after the invasion began and has been controlled by them ever since.

During the advance to recapture Kherson last October, Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Russians of planting explosive charges in the dam with the intention of detonating it and causing vast flooding of the region.

The destruction of the dam “would be a large-scale disaster”, the Ukrainian president said at the time, comparing it to the use of weapons of mass destruction. But even then there were mutual accusations between Kiev and Moscow, with the Russians accusing the Ukrainians of firing rockets at the dam with the aim of destroying it.

In recent weeks, the alarm had already been sounded for the rising water level of the basin, with the consequent flooding of villages in the Zaporizhzhia region which local Ukrainian authorities believed to be linked “to the Russian occupation of the Kakhovka dam”.