Russia is planning to destroy the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant and dam in the eastern Kherson region, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky warned late on Thursday. He accused Russian troops of planting mines at the aggregates and dam of the Kakhovka HPP in the Russian-occupied region, where Ukrainian soldiers have been steadily advancing and pro-Russian authorities have begun what civilian evacuations.
According to the Ukrainian president, this act poses a threat to a 400km Soviet-built long canal network, the North Crimean canal, which would be a catastrophe on a grand scale, since it will destroy, among other things, even the possibility of supplying water from the Dnipro River to Crimea.
Zelensky warned in his latest address that such an attack on the Kakhovka HPP will be equal to the use of weapons of mass destruction.
The advisor to Zelensky, Mykhailo Podolyak, has also warned that Russia is preparing a man-made catastrophe by mining the dam and transformers at the Kakhovka hydroelectric in order to flood the lower Dnipro River. The goal of the Russian troops in the region, which are under threat from a Ukrainian offensive, would be to halt the Ukrainian advance and protect themselves.
Meanwhile, another senior Ukrainian official warned about the growing danger that through its coordination with Belarus, Moscow would open a new front to cut military supplies to Ukraine. Oleksii Hromov, a senior official in the military’s General Staff, pointed to the growing threat of the Russian armed forces resuming the offensive on the northern front and changing its direction to the western part of the Belarusian-Ukrainian border.
The aim of such a move would be to cut the main logistics arteries of supplying weapons and military equipment to Ukraine from its allies.
Some of those allies, namely the EU and the UK, addressed on Thursday another serious issue in the Ukraine war, the use of Iranian suicide drones by Moscow to mass attack targets in Ukraine. Considering the abundant evidence that Russia is using Iranian-made drones, both the UK and the EU announced new sanctions on Iran.
The Czech presidency of the EU said on Thursday that EU ambassadors agreed on measures – freezing the assets – against three individuals and one entity supplying Iranian drones. Noting that the sanctions will come into force on Thursday afternoon, it said that the bloc is also prepared to extend sanctions to four more Iranian entities already featured in the sanctions list.