A chilling video has emerged that captures the moment the Kakhovka dam and a hydroelectric plant over the Dnieper River in Ukraine were blown up by Russian forces on Tuesday, putting thousands of people at risk of flooding. According to reports, the 'catastrophic' flood has already caused several villages to vanish underwater.
The Ukrainian Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday morning that the Kakhovka dam, on the Dnieper River in the southern region of the country, sustained significant damage due to multiple explosions. Consequently, they have urged residents from 10 villages located on the right bank of the river, along with certain parts of Kherson city downstream, to evacuate immediately, leaving behind all their belongings.
According to reports, several villages have already vanished under water and the loss of lives is yet to be ascertained.
Chilling videos show scores of houses being swept away and entire towns submerged by the deluge after huge explosions rocked the dam and the hydroelectric power plant.
One video captures the moment the alleged Russian missile exploded. The short video clip shows water smoothly flowing from one of the gates of the Kakhovka dam. The screen then blurs for a second and an explosion is seen rocking the Kakhovka Dam as the concrete structure starts to crumble and water is seen gushing out from all directions.
Other disturbing footage captured at the scene revealed the alarming aftermath of the Kakhovka dam incident, as village streets and nearby fields were engulfed by surging floods.
The local mayor, reportedly deputed by Russia, issued a warning that the water level would continue to rise for another 72 hours and claimed that certain areas could experience floods reaching up to 40 feet in height.
A resident named Serhiy, living in Kherson, expressed his fear, stating, "Everything is going to die here—all the living creatures, and people will be flooded out. People will suffer. There's already no water coming out of taps, and nobody knows why."
Other residents of Kherson revealed that the water level in some parts of the city had already reached a staggering height of 9 feet and feared the arrival of even more water.
Ukrainian authorities had earlier cautioned that the dam's failure could result in the release of 18 million cubic meters (4.8 billion gallons) of water, leading to the flooding of Kherson and numerous other towns and settlements, housing hundreds of thousands of people.
The exact cause of the explosions remains unclear. However, Ukraine had issued a warning in late 2022, suggesting that Russian forces had planted mines in the dam during their retreat from Kherson.
Additionally, Ukraine's state hydroelectric company stated that the plant was destroyed by an explosion in the engine room, indicating that the attack originated from within rather than being the result of external strikes.
Putin's forces prioritized the capture of the dam and the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station during the initial stages of the Russian invasion on February 24 last year. Russian officials claimed that the dam had been targeted by military strikes from the Ukrainian side.
The Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant was constructed during the Soviet era and is in the city of Nova Kakhovka in Ukraine's Kherson region, which is currently under Russian occupation.
It is one of six dams located along the Dnieper River, stretching from the northern parts of the country to the southern coast.
The size of the dam is massive, and local residents often refer to it as the "Kakhovka Sea" due to its size, with certain areas lacking visibility of the opposite bank.
According to Reuters, the dam can hold water equivalent to the Great Salt Lake in the US state of Utah. The extent of the downstream flooding remains uncertain, but there are concerns that it could have devastating consequences for settlements in a critical zone, where approximately 16,000 people reside.
Images captured in Nova Kakhovka depict buildings surrounded by floodwaters, with even swans seen swimming around a local government office, illustrating the magnitude of the flooding's impact.
Oleksandr Prokudin, the head of the Kherson region, said during an interview on Ukrainian TV that eight villages had already experienced partial or complete flooding, and further flooding was expected.
Ukrainian hydropower dam operator UkrHydroEnerho made a distressing announcement, stating that the power station had suffered irreparable damage and could not be restored.
President Volodymyr Zelensky conveyed that the Dnieper River had been contaminated with 150 tons of industrial lubricant, and there was a looming risk of an additional 300 tons leaking into the river.
However, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismissed any Russian involvement and instead placed blame on Ukraine, labeling the incident as an act of "sabotage" intended to deprive the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, of water.