UNITED NATIONS, June 7. /TASS/. Chiefs of the Ukrainian armed forces openly declared their plans to destroy the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plnat (HPP) back in 2022, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya has said.
"I underscore that as early as last year, leaders of Ukrainian military publicly claimed ready to blast the dam in order to obtain some military advantage," he told the UN Security Council on Tuesday. "Here is a quote from a Washington Post article dated 29 December 2022. Please listen carefully. ‘Maj. Gen. Kovalchuk considered flooding the river. The Ukrainians, he said, even conducted a test strike with a HIMARS launcher on one of the floodgates at the Nova Kakhovka dam, making three holes in the metal to see if the Dnieper’s water could be raised enough to stymie Russian crossings but not flood nearby villages. The test was a success, Kovalchuk said, but the step remained a last resort. He held off.’"
He added that the Russian authorities have been issuing warnings about the possibility of Ukraine’s attack on the dam for quite a while.
"We warned the global community and UN leadership about this. At the end of October 2022, we circulated as an official UNSC document a letter of the Permanent Mission of Russia where we drew attention to Kiev’s plans to destroy the Kakhovka Hydroplant. We regret that our calls to the Secretary-General to do everything possible to prevent this appalling crime remained unheeded," the Russian diplomat said.
Ukrainian forces shelled the Kakhovka HPP in the early morning hours on Tuesday, presumably using missiles fired from an Olkha multiple launch rocket system (MLRS). The gate valves of the plant’s dam collapsed as a result of the shelling, causing water to pour out uncontrollably.
As of now, the water level in Novaya Kakhovka has risen to above 12 meters. Fourteen settlements have been flooded and up to 80 are at risk of being inundated. People are being evacuated from neighboring settlements. However, according to local authorities, large-scale evacuations are not necessary. Farmlands along the Dnieper have been washed away. There is a risk of the drying out of the North Crimean Canal, which feeds water to Crimea.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the attack on the Kakhovka HPP as a deliberate act of sabotage by Ukraine. He added that the Kiev regime should bear all the responsibility for the consequences.