RIGA - Blowing up the dam of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) will have a greater impact on the Russian-controlled side, but at the same time it would hinder a possible river forcing operation, Janis Sarts, director of NATO's Center of Excellence for Strategic Communication, said on social media today.
Although the two warring sides are blaming each other in blowing up the dam, Sarts believes that it is Russia's handiwork.
"The impact is greater on the coastline under Russian control, but such a step would hinder a possible river forcing operation. I think there will be many civilian casualties," said Sarts.
The AFP news agency reports that the Kakhovka HPP dam in southern Ukraine was damaged on Tuesday, with Kyiv and Moscow accusing each other of blowing it up while locals were forced to flee rising waters.
The dam was partially destroyed by "multiple strikes", Moscow-installed authorities claimed just as expectations were rising over the start of Ukraine's long-awaited offensive.
Ukraine, however, accused Russia of blowing up the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant.
"The terrorists' goal is obvious -- to create obstacles for the offensive actions of the armed forces," Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak said.
Ukrainian President Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky convened a meeting of his National Security Council over the Russian "war crime", said his chief of staff, Andriy Yermak.
Several villages have been "completely or partially flooded" following damage to the dam and evacuations from the area have begun, a Ukrainian official said.
"About 16,000 people are in the critical zone on the right bank of the Kherson region," Oleksandr Prokudin, head of the Kherson miliary administration, said on social media, adding that there was flooding in eight areas along the Dnipro River.