Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure are aimed at creating a new wave of refugees.
Speaking to the European Council in a video address, Zelensky said after failing to use energy resources as a weapon against Europe, “The current Russian leadership has ordered the energy system itself to be turned into a battlefield. The consequences of that are very serious, once again for all of us in Europe.”
“Attacks with Russian cruise missiles and Iranian attack drones destroyed more than a third of our energy infrastructure,” he said. Because of this, unfortunately, we can no longer export electricity to help you maintain stability. ”
ruined days Russian attacks on energy infrastructure It caused the nation to lose at least 40% of its power generation capacity. Ukrainian officials warned earlier this week that both emergencies and planned power outages would follow.
Zelensky added: “Russia also provokes a new wave of Ukrainians’ immigration to EU countries. Russia’s terrorism against our energy facilities is aimed at creating as many electricity and heating problems in Ukraine this fall and winter as possible and making as many Ukrainians as possible leave for your countries.”
Mined critical dams: Zelensky also claimed that Russia was creating the grounds for a large-scale catastrophe in southern Ukraine, as Russian forces had mined a dangerous dam on the Dnipro River in the southern Kherson region, as well as a nearby hydroelectric plant.
“We have information that Russian terrorists have mined the dam and units of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant,” Zelensky told the Council of Europe during a video address.
“The dam in this hydropower plant contains about 18 million cubic meters of water.
If the Russian terrorists blew up this dam, then more than 80 settlements, including Kherson, will be in the flash flood zone. Hundreds of thousands of people may suffer. The water supply to a large part of southern Ukraine could be destroyed. This Russian terrorist attack could leave the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant without water for cooling – ZNPP water is taken from the Kakhovka Reservoir. ”
CNN has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense to respond to the allegations.
The dam and hydroelectric station were operating at very low capacity as Russian forces captured the area in March. Ukrainian forces are about 40 kilometers (more than 24 miles) north of the dam. Over the past four months, they launched several strikes on the bridge, which forms part of the dam, to prevent its use by the Russian army.
On the other hand, Mikhailo Podolak, adviser to the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, said on Twitter, Thursday, that Russia plans to de-mine the dam and diverters, forcing Ukrainian civilians to deport them from Kherson and flood the land to stop the Ukrainian counter-attack in the region. The land to the south and east of the river is low.
“Russia is preparing for a man-made catastrophe,” Podolyak said.
What pro-Moscow officials say: Vladimir Leontiev, head of the Russia-appointed administrative district of Nova Kakhovka, told Russian state media TASS that it makes no sense for Russia to destroy the dam for the power plant.
“What is the point of Russia to destroy it now? Even from the official point of view, this is nonsense. “This is absolute nonsense,” Leontiev said.
“First of all, you need to think about who benefits from it: it is only useful for Ukraine to destroy the dam, the hydropower plant, disrupt logistics, sow fear and panic, stop the possibility of water supply through from the North Crimean canal to the Crimean Territory,” according to TASS.