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Zelensky says Russia is preparing a terrorist attack on Kakhovka dam

The Russian military is planning a terrorist attack on the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station in the Kherson region, claims Volodymyr Zelensky.

“According to our information, the power units and the dam at Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station have been mined by Russian terrorists,” the Ukrainian president said during his address to the nation on the results of the 239th day of war.

Early on Thursday, he spoke about the same issue via video at a European Council meeting in Brussels. According to Zelensky, the Kakhovka dam, which is controlled by the Russian army, holds a volume of around 18 million cubic meters of water (about 14.5 thousand acre-feet), and 80 settlements, including the city of Kherson, lie in the zone which will flood rapidly if the dam is blown up.

Zelensky appealed to the global community to respond preemptively to a possible terrorist attack, and to send an international monitoring mission to the hydropower plant:

Undermining the dam would mean a massive catastrophe. Of course, we understand that the occupiers are indifferent to what happens to Ukrainian territory. With this act of terrorism they could destroy, among other things, the possibility of supplying Crimea with water from the Dnipro. The North Crimean Canal will simply disappear if the Kakhovka dam is destroyed. If Russia is planning such a terrorist attack, if they’re seriously considering such a scenario, it means that the terrorists understand very clearly: it’s not only Kherson that they cannot hold, but also the entire south of our country, including Crimea.

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On October 19, The American Institute for the Study of War wrote in an analytical report that Russia was likely preparing to damage the Kakhovka dam and lay the blame for it on Ukraine.

Also on October 19, Putin decreed martial law in the formally annexed territories, including the Kherson region. An evacuation of Kherson started the same day. The Russian defense ministry reported that Ukrainian armed forces were advancing in Kherson and the Donbas. General Sergey Surovikin said that Russia’s long-term plans for Kherson depend on a complex military-tactical situation. He did not rule out “difficult decisions.”

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