In the early hours of Tuesday, a cataclysmic event unfolded in the heart of Russian-occupied southern Ukraine, shattering the tranquil landscape and triggering a wave of panic and uncertainty. The destruction of a colossal dam and its accompanying hydro-electric power plant sent shockwaves through the region, forcing hasty mass evacuations and raising grave concerns about the potential for widespread devastation. Amidst the chaos, Ukraine leveled a weighty accusation against Moscow’s forces, branding their alleged involvement as an unfathomable act of “ecocide.”

According to CNN:

Residents downstream from the Nova Kakhovka dam on the Dnipro River in Kherson were told to “do everything you can to save your life,” according to the head of Ukraine’s Kherson region military administration, as video showed a deluge of water gushing from a huge breach in the dam.

Two videos posted to social media and geolocated by CNN showed the destroyed dam wall and fast-moving torrents of water flowing out into the river. Multiple buildings at the entrance to the dam were also heavily damaged.

The critical Nova Kakhovka dam spans the Dnipro River, a major waterway running through southeastern Ukraine and there are multiple towns and cities downstream, including Kherson, a city of some 300,000 people before Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor. Multiple senior Ukrainian officials and military figures accused Russia of sabotaging the dam.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who convened an emergency meeting of his security chiefs, said its destruction “only confirms for the whole world” that Russian forces “must be expelled from every corner of Ukrainian land.”

In a potentially dire turn of events, the dam’s destruction not only poses an immediate threat to the city’s water supply but also casts a shadow of uncertainty over the neighboring Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which crucially relies on this water source. As tensions rise, Ukraine’s southern command has acknowledged the impact on the power plant’s operations.

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