Massive Dam Break Puts Europe's Largest Nuclear Power Plant at Risk
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It appears Ukraine's long-awaited Spring counter-offensive could be underway. While there's been no formal announcement, even Russians admit Ukraine is gaining ground.
Meanwhile, a major dam that Moscow controls has been breached, affecting both sides of the war. Evacuations are underway after the wall of the Kakhovka dam collapsed following an explosion.
The result – massive flooding now endangering Europe's largest nuclear power plant and threatening drinking water. Homes, streets, and businesses were flooded downstream as emergency crews raced to check cooling systems at the power plant which U.S. officials say appears to be safe.
"The damage to the Ukrainian people and to the region will be significant. Its destruction could very well have a devastating impact on Ukraine's energy security," said John Kirby, National Security Council spokesperson.
Ukraine is accusing Russian forces of blowing up the dam and hydroelectric power station while Russia blames Ukrainian military strikes in the area.
"The destruction of the Kakhovka Dam today puts thousands of civilians at risk and causes severe environmental damage," said Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary-General. "This is an outrageous act which demonstrates once again the brutality of Russia's war in Ukraine."
Streets are flooded in Kherson, Ukraine, Wednesday, June 7, 2023 after the Kakhovka dam was blown up. (AP Photo/Libkos)
The dam break added a stunning new dimension to Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine. Now in its 16th month, it's believed Ukrainian troops are moving forward with a long-anticipated counter-offensive. The Ukrainian army claimed to be gaining ground Monday along a wide front in the Bakhmut area, the epicenter of the fighting, and Russia admits the Spring advance may have begun as well.
But the dam disaster could hinder Ukraine's counter-offensive in the south and complicate the advance of its forces. In the short term – some military experts say it's a win for Russia – at least until the water subsides.
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