Floodwaters were released throughout the conflict area after a massive Soviet-era dam – Kakhovka Dam – on the Dnipro River that separates Russian and Ukrainian forces in southern Ukraine was breached.
GS II: International Relations
Dimensions of the Article:
- The Kakhovka Dam
- What Happened to the Kakhovka Dam?
- Impact of the Dam Collapse
- How will this Affect the War between Russia and Ukraine?
The Kakhovka Dam
- The Kakhovka Dam is a 30-meter tall and 3.2-kilometer long dam built in 1956 on the Dnipro River as part of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant.
- The reservoir created by the dam has a volume of 18 cubic kilometers, equivalent to the Great Salt Lake in the U.S. state of Utah.
- The reservoir serves as a water source for the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia claims to have annexed in 2014.
- It also supplies water to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which is currently under Russian control.
What Happened to the Kakhovka Dam?
- Ukraine holds Russia responsible for the dam’s collapse.
- Some Russian-installed officials have accused Ukraine of shelling the dam.
- Other Russian-installed officials claim that the dam collapsed due to earlier damage and the pressure of the water.
Impact of the Dam Collapse:
- Evacuations of civilians have begun on both sides of the front line. Approximately 22,000 people living across 14 settlements in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region are at risk of flooding.
- The Crimean Peninsula heavily relies on the canal fed by the reservoir for fresh water supply.
- Previously, Ukraine blocked water supplies to Crimea after Russia’s annexation in 2014, leading to water shortages in the region.
- There is a risk of water levels in the North Crimea Canal, which carries fresh water to the peninsula, falling as a result of the dam rupture.
- The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the largest in Europe, relies on the reservoir for its cooling water. The plant is now situated on the southern side under Russian control.
- Russia’s state nuclear energy company, Rosatom, has stated that there is no threat to the Moscow-controlled nuclear plant.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog, is closely monitoring the situation and has determined that there is no immediate nuclear safety risk at the plant.
How will this Affect the War between Russia and Ukraine?
The impact of the Kakhovka Dam collapse on the war between Russia and Ukraine is uncertain, and experts have different opinions on its implications. Here are some key points:
- The news of the dam damage emerged at a time when Russia claimed that Ukraine had initiated a counteroffensive.
- Ukraine has accused Russia of aiming to create obstacles for its offensive to regain control of territories held by Russian forces.
- Kyiv previously alleged that Russia had mined the dam as part of the ongoing conflict, although Russia denies these claims.
- The flooding caused by the dam collapse could potentially have implications for Ukraine’s planned counteroffensive.
- However, the exact impact of the flooding on Ukrainian forces’ ability to retake captured territories remains unclear, and experts have varying views on the matter.
-Source: The Hindu