A strategic facility for Crimea

A strategic facility for Crimea


The Kakhovka hydroelectric power station in southern Ukraine was captured early in the invasion because of its strategic importance: it supplies water to the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow.

The Russian-held dam is in particular focus now after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russian troops of plotting to blow it up to trigger a devastating flood.

Located on the Dnieper River, the dam is one of the largest of its kind in Ukraine.

According to the website of the Ukrainian operator Ukrgydroenergo, the power of the hydroelectric power station is 334.8 megawatts.

Built in Soviet times in the 1950s, the Kakhovka Dam pumps water into the North Crimean Canal, which begins in southern Ukraine and crosses the entire Crimean Peninsula.

Upstream of the dam is the Kakhovka Reservoir on the Dnieper.

The reservoir holds 18 km3 of water.

The dam and hydroelectric power station were captured by Russian troops right at the start of the invasion on February 24th.

Kakhovka is around 60 kilometers east of the city of Cherson, which fell into Russian hands a few days later in March.

The front line is currently about 40 kilometers north of the dam.

A bursting would trigger a “disaster on a large scale,” Zelensky said on Thursday before the European Council.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the lower Dnieper would be at risk of flooding, including the city of Kherson itself.

“This could destroy the water supply of a large part of southern Ukraine” as well as affect the cooling system of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which relies on the Kakhovka reservoir.

Kremlin proxies in the Kherson region have denied any plans to blow up the dam, calling Zelenskyy’s claims “lies”.

Any problem with the dam would lead to water supply problems for Crimea, which has been under Russian control since 2014 and which Ukraine hopes to one day retake.

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