MOSCOW, June 6. /TASS/. Western and Ukrainian media reports alleging that Russian forces are responsible for damage to the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) are nothing but insinuations, Novaya Kakhovka Mayor Vladimir Leontyev said on Tuesday.
"I can immediately debunk these insinuations and fakes. The Kakhovka HPP has been under constant strikes and rocket attacks since the summer of last year. During one 24-hour period, [the plant] was targeted by more than 70 missiles fired by [US-supplied] HIMARS [launchers]," he said on Russia’s Channel One television, responding to the host’s question about reports appearing in Western media.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky attempted to blame "Russian terrorists" for the damage to the Kakhovka HPP.
He also said on his Telegram channel that all emergency services were already engaged in dealing with the situation and confirmed that he had called a meeting of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.
Overnight, media reports began appearing that the Ukrainian armed forces had blown up the dam of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant on the Dnieper River. The mayor of nearby Novaya Kakhovka confirmed that the nighttime strikes on the plant led to the collapse of sluice gate valves, triggering an uncontrolled release of water downstream. Afterwards, emergency services clarified that the shelling has resulted in partial destruction of the plant’s structures, which in turn led to the collapse of three spans of the hydroelectric power plant under water pressure.
According to emergency services, Ukrainian forces shelled the Kakhovka HPP, presumably using missiles fired from an Olkha multiple launch rocket system (MLRS). Earlier, Vladimir Rogov, chairman of the We Are Together With Russia movement, told TASS that Ukraine was preparing a false flag operation with the goal of accusing Russia of jeopardizing the safety of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant due to actions deliberately aimed at reducing the water level in the Kakhovka Reservoir, from which water for the plant's cooling system is sourced. He further stated that the accent will be placed on accusations that Russia allegedly sought to create a "man-made technological catastrophe" of its own. He also postulated that Kiev may attempt to pull off a trifecta terrorist act by blowing up the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant. For their part, the Kherson Region authorities have repeatedly reported that Ukrainian forces were shelling the plant.