US administration of President Joe Biden has expressed serious concern over reports of the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant and is working to ascertain the potential risks stemming from the incident.
Reuters reported on Tuesday, quoting an anonymous official from the Biden administration, that the US is “very concerned” following the explosion at the dam under Russian control, and is probing into the consequences of the incident.
The Ukrainian army bombed the Kakhovka hydroelectric station last night, causing significant damage to the dam’s valves, resulting in a disorderly and severe water flow. The water level rose to eight meters in the Dnieper River and reached 5.3 meters in the Korsun River.
As a result, dam waters flooded several cities and villages surrounding the Kakhovka hydroelectric station. Evacuations are underway for civilians from three areas: Nova Kakhovka, Holoprystan, and the city of Alioshki.
Additionally, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency warned of a significant drop in the water level in the cooling system’s reservoir of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.
The critical Nova Kakhovka dam is the largest reservoir in Ukraine in terms of volume. It’s the last of the cascade of six Soviet-era dams on the Dnipro River, a major waterway running through southeastern Ukraine. There are multiple towns and cities downstream, including Kherson, a city of some 300,000 people before Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor.
Both Ukrainian and Russian officials said the dam collapsed in an explosion and are blaming each other for it. The incident happened as Ukraine was gearing up for a widely anticipated counter-offensive.
The Ukrainian military intelligence said an explosion occurred at 2:50 a.m. local time on Tuesday, when “Russia carried out an internal explosion of the structures of the Kakhovka hydro-electric power plant.”
Meanwhile, the Russian-installed mayor of Nova Kakhovka, Vladimir Leontiev, initially denied the dam had collapsed in an interview with Russian state media RIA Novosti, calling it “nonsense.” He later confirmed the destruction of parts of the dam in what he called “a serious terrorist act” but said there was “no need to evacuate.”