Russian occupation Kherson loses power over ‘sabotage’ charges

The Russian-established Kherson administration blamed Ukraine for the blackout, accusing Ukraine of attacking the Kahovka hydroelectric dam. In a statement to Telegram, the Kherson administration, set up by Russia, said “terrorist attacks” had damaged three power lines in the region. The attack did not provide evidence, but said it was carried out by Ukraine. The blackout was “the result of an attack on the Ukrainian-organized Berislav-Kakhovka highway, where three concrete poles were broken and high-voltage power lines were seen”. It is the first time Kherson has witnessed such a ceasefire, which had been captured by Russian forces within days of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Kherson is one of four regions that Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed last month. Russian state news agency TASS, citing Moscow governor Vladimir Saldo, said that Kersson’s Moscow electricity supply plans to be restored by the end of the day. Energy experts are working to resolve the issue “quickly”, while Russian-backed authorities have urged people to “keep composure”. TASS separately quoted local emergency services as saying that 10 settlements, including the city of Kherson, which had a population of 280,000 before the war, were without electricity. In recent weeks, Russian officials have repeatedly warned civilians to leave Kherson as they prepare for a Ukrainian offensive against the city, the only regional capital occupied by Russia since its February 24 invasion. The Kakhovka dam in the Russian-controlled Kherson region was “damaged” by a Ukrainian attack. “At 10:00 (08:00 GMT) today, six HIMARS rockets were hit. The air defense forces shot down five missiles, one of which hit the locks of the Kahovka Dam. RIA Novosti news agency said the damage was not “serious”, citing local officials backed by Moscow. Flood threat The Kakhovka hydroelectric dam in southern Ukraine was occupied by Moscow forces at the start of the offensive. It supplies water to the Crimean Peninsula annexed to Russia. Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett said the two sides have been trading for weeks on Russia’s own dams. “The Ukrainians are saying the Russians were trying to mine it and blow it up,” Fossett said, reporting from Kyiv. But Fossett said it would be catastrophic for both sides if the dam collapses. The dam holds 19 million cubic meters of water and is located close to Kherson, Fawcett said. Ukraine has been warning in recent weeks that Moscow forces plan to blow up strategic facilities, causing flooding. About a third of Ukraine’s power plants were destroyed in Russian airstrikes last month, and the government has urged Ukrainians to conserve electricity as much as possible. But so far, Ukraine has rarely attacked Russian-owned civilian energy infrastructure in the territory annexed to Moscow, and has targeted Russian military supply lines. Saldo said that if the dam is destroyed, the left bank of the Dnieper will overflow. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last month that Russian forces had mined mines for the purpose of blowing up the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant. Its destruction has warned millions of people that it could cause flash floods. He said a cut in water supply to the south could also affect the cooling system of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe.

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