London: Russia may be plotting to blow up the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, Ukraine has warned, after explosions at a major dam and hydroelectric plant caused mass flooding in the Kherson region and sparked a humanitarian disaster, the media reported.
A series of blasts caused the critical Nova Kahkovka dam, which lies along the Dnieper river in Russian-held territory, to partially collapse and led to ‘catastrophic’ floods, the Daily Mail reported.
Around 24 towns were overrun by the deluge with shocking footage from the region showing how entire villages were submerged and houses swept away, Daily Mail reported.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of detonating an ‘environmental bomb of mass destruction’, saying authorities expected up to 80 settlements to be flooded and urging the world to ‘react’.
“This crime carries enormous threats and will have dire consequences for people’s lives and the environment,” Zelensky said, while US security officials warned there would likely be ‘many deaths’ as a result of the floods.
The Kremlin, meanwhile, has blamed Ukraine for the blast, claiming it was a ploy by Kyiv to distract from the launch of a major counteroffensive Moscow says is faltering, the Daily Mail reported.
But Zelensky’s top security official Oleksiy Danilov dismissed the allegations and said that Putin’s next step may be to attack the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which lies just 80miles up the river from Kakhovka and relies on water from the dam to cool its reactors, the Daily Mail reported.
Danilov told the Times that since Putin has entered ‘a fundamentally new stage of Russian aggression’ and that since he ‘had the hydroelectric power plant blown up on his demand, he is ready to do anything’.