Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure are aimed at creating a new wave of refugees.
Speaking in a video address to the European Council, Zelensky said that after failing to use energy resources as a weapon against Europe, “the current Russian leadership has ordered the energy system to turn into a battlefield. The consequences are again very dangerous for all of us in Europe.”
“Russian cruise missiles and Iranian drone strikes have destroyed more than a third of our energy infrastructure,” he said. “As a result, unfortunately, we can no longer export electricity to help you maintain stability.”
A disastrous day Russian attacks on energy infrastructure As a result, the power generation capacity of the country decreased by at least 40%. Ukrainian authorities warned earlier this week that both an emergency and a planned blackout would follow.
Zelensky added: “Russia is also provoking a new wave of migration of Ukrainians to EU countries. The goal of Russia’s terror against our energy facilities is to cause as many power and heat problems as possible in Ukraine this fall and winter, and to leave as many Ukrainians in our countries as possible.”
Critical Dam Excavation: Zelensky also claimed that Russia was causing a large-scale disaster in southern Ukraine, with Russian forces mining a critical dam on the Dnipro River in southern Kherson region, as well as an adjacent hydroelectric plant.
“We have information that Russian terrorists mined the dam and units of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant,” Zelensky told the Council of Europe during a video address.
“The dam of this hydropower plant has about 18 million cubic meters of water.
“If Russian terrorists blow up this dam, more than 80 settlements, including Kherson, will be in a state of rapid flooding. Millions of people may suffer. Water supply to large parts of southern Ukraine could be cut off. This Russian terrorist attack could leave the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant without water for cooling – water for the ZNPP is taken from the Kakhovka reservoir. ”
CNN has reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry to respond to the allegations.
These dams and hydroelectric plants have been operating at very low capacity since Russian forces took over the area in March. Ukrainian troops are about 40 kilometers (over 24 miles) north of the dam. Over the past four months, they have launched several attacks on the bridge, which is part of the dam, to prevent its use by Russian forces.
Separately, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Ukrainian president’s office, said on Twitter on Thursday that Russia planned to mine the dam and transformer, forcing Ukrainian citizens to evacuate from Kherson and flood-affected regions. The land south and east of the river is low.
“Russia is preparing for a man-made disaster,” Podolyak said.
What pro-Moscow officials are saying: Vladimir Leontiev, the Russian-appointed head of the Nova Kakhovka administrative district, told Russian state media TASS that there was no point in Russia destroying the power station’s dam.
“What’s the point of destroying Russia now? Even from a formal point of view, this is nonsense. This is pointless nonsense,” Leontiev said.
“First of all, you need to think about who benefits: destroying dams, hydroelectric power stations, disrupting logistics, sowing fear and terror, cutting off the possibility of water supply is beneficial to Ukraine. North Crimean Canal in the territory of Crimea,” he said, according to TASS.