Factbox: Is the Kakhovka Dam in Ukraine about to burst?

Oct 21 (Reuters) – Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of planning to blow up the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam on the Dnipro River, a move that would trigger devastating flooding across a large area of ​​southern Ukraine.

What is the Kakhovka Dam, is it about to burst and what impact would it have?

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DAM

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* The dam, 30 meters high and 3.2 km long, was built in 1956 on the Dnipro River as part of the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant.

* It contains an 18 km3 reservoir, which also supplies water to the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, and to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is also under Russian control.

* The amount of water in the reservoir is approximately equal to the Great Salt Lake in the US state of Utah.

* Bursting the Soviet-era dam, which is controlled by Russia, would unleash a wall of devastating floods across much of the Kherson region, which Russia last month declared annexed in the face of a Ukrainian advance.

* The destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant will also add to Ukraine’s energy woes after weeks of Russian missile strikes targeting production and grid facilities, which Kyiv said damaged a third of the country’s nationwide power grid.

ASSERTION

* Sergei Surovikin, the commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, said on Tuesday that he had information that Ukrainian forces were preparing a massive attack on the dam and had already used US-supplied HIMARS missiles in a major attack, he said, could be a disaster.

“We have information about the possibility of the Kyiv regime using prohibited war methods in the area of ​​the city of Kherson, about Kiev’s preparation of a massive missile attack on the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam,” Surovikin said.

Ukrainian officials said the claim was a sign Moscow was planning to attack the dam and blame Kiev.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Thursday that Russia had mined the dam and was preparing to blow it up, a move he likened to the use of weapons of mass destruction.

“I informed the Europeans today, during the meeting of the European Council, about the next terrorist attack that Russia is preparing for at the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant,” he said. “Destroying the dam would mean a large-scale disaster.”

Blowing up the dam, he said, would also destroy the water supply to Crimea, showing that Russia had accepted that it could not hold on to the peninsula.

Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-installed deputy head of the annexed Kherson region, said Kyiv’s claims that Russia had mined the dam were false.

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Report from Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Philippa Fletcher

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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