In a shocking move, the forces of Russian President Vladimir Putin have been accused of committing an act of “ecocide” in Ukraine after an important dam and hydroelectric power plant in southern Ukraine were destroyed at dawn this March. The destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam has caused massive evacuations and fears of a large-scale disaster if the accusations are found to be true.
The Nova Kakhovka dam is located on the Dnipro river in the Jerson region of Ukraine—a city of approximately 300,000 people, which was recently occupied by Russian forces. Residents downstream of the dam have been told to “do everything possible to save your life.” Videos on social media show a deluge of water flowing from a large breach in the dam, and several buildings at the entrance have also suffered serious damage.
The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, held an emergency meeting of his security chiefs to discuss this destruction and also stated that the incident “only confirms for the whole world” that the Russian forces “must be expelled from all corners of the Ukrainian land.”
Ukraine’s top officials have further accused the Russian forces of sabotaging the dam, with further claims that the incident could result in “the deprivation of potable water for people in the south of the Jerson region and in Crimea, the possible destruction of some settlements and the biosphere.”
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, has also expressed deep concern over the incident, describing the attack as “an unprecedented attack on the Nova Kakhovka dam” and “clearly qualifies as a war crime”.
With this event seemingly adding to the growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine, the ramifications of this incident are still being felt and the extent of the damage remains unknown. As the world watches in horror, it appears that the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam has the potential to cause a catastrophic disaster if investigations conclude that Putin’s forces are indeed responsible.