Ukraine considered destroying Nova Kakhovka dam: WaPo
The Ukrainian armed forces were considering flooding the Nova Kakhocka dam situated on the banks of the Dnieper river as a "last resort" during the Kherson offensive.
The Ukrainian armed forces were considering flooding the Dneiper river by destroying the Nova Kakhovka dam back in October, confirming the Russian reports that came out about the matter last year, the Washington Post reported in late December.
The discussions about flooding the Dneiper came as Ukraine was launching an offensive against Russia in Kherson, with Kiev knowing that Russia was heavily reliant on the Antonovsky Bridge, the Antonovsky railway bridge, and the Nova Kakhovka dam, which is part of a hydroelectric facility that has a road on top of it, to supply its soldiers with arms, equipment, food, and other necessary goods.
"There were moments when we turned off their supply lines completely, and they still managed to build crossings," said Major General Andriy Kovalchuk, tasked with leading the Kherson offensive. "They managed to replenish ammunition. … It was very difficult."
The two bridges, the Antonovsky Bridge and the Antonovsky railway bridge were shelled with the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, more commonly known as HIMARS, which the United States had given Kiev.
According to the Washington Post, the Major General had mulled flooding the river at one point, putting under water dozens of civilian settlements and risking the lives of thousands. Kovalchuk said the Ukrainian fighters conducted a test strike with a HIMARS launcher on one of the floodgates at the Nova Kakhova dam, which saw them making three holes in the metal to see if this would lead the key river's water from getting raised enough to prevent - or hinder - the Russians from using the crossings.
The military official stressed that the test was a success, though Kiev's forces kept the action as a last resort in case they needed it.
It is noteworthy that Ukrainian and Western officials were accusing Russia of wanting to flood the river back in October.
A former UK former senior British military intelligence officer said at the time that Russia was planning "something to do with the Nova Kakhovka dam - either opening the floodgates or destroying the dam and trying to create a flood down into the Kherson area."
He said this would result in huge flooding, which would restrict Ukraine's ability to push forward and buy time for Russia "to regroup its forces."
Russia's Defense Ministry announced in early November the complete withdrawal of Russian troops and equipment from the right bank of the Dnieper River, Kherson, as Moscow noted that there will be a need to build defenses on the left bank. Soon after, Ukrainian forces entered Kherson.
Commander of the Joint Russian Forces in Ukraine Sergey Surovikin reported to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that it was necessary to withdraw the troops from the right bank of the Dnieper River, including the city of Kherson, and organize a defense on its left bank, and the proposal was accepted by the minister.
Surovikin had informed Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that Kiev's intentions to cause a flood zone below the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant might have disastrous consequences.
According to Surovikin said "The implementation of the enemy's plans to create a flood zone below the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power plant can lead to dangerous consequences," adding that "this is confirmed by constant missile attacks on the dam of the Kakhovka HPP, as well as on the spillway gates of this dam."
"So, on September 26, one of the spillway shutters was hit and damaged," Surovikin significantly noted.
He continued that the intense water release via the dam of the Kiev hydroelectric power plant and the hydroelectric power plant downstream, which Kiev had been conducting out since October 10, was also a reason for concern regarding the potential flooding of the two banks of the Dnieper River.
Kherson, along with 3 neighboring regions of DPR, LPR, and Zaporozhye, voted to join the Russian Federation in September. The vote was later approved by Moscow following legal and political procedures and finalized on October 5.