Ukraine war: The attack on the Kakhovka Dam: Memories of World War 2 are awakened. © Uncredited/dpa
After the destruction of a dam on the Dnipro River, devastating consequences threaten. A similar incident in southern Ukraine occurred 80 years ago.
Moscow – Ukraine accuses Russia of blowing up the Kakhovka Dam on the Dnipro River in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine. The situation seems critical: Up to 80 villages downstream are threatened, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced. In a first reaction, 300 houses were evacuated and several villages were cut off from the power supply as a precaution. The hydroelectric power plant belonging to the dam was reportedly completely destroyed. A historical model for such a blast already exists.
Attack on the Kakhovka Dam – Parallels to the Second World War Recognizable
As early as 1941, Soviet soldiers caused an explosion at the Zaporizhzhia Dam during World War II. The dam near Zaporizhzhia was one of the major industrialization projects in the early days of the Soviet Union. However, the Zaporizhzhia reservoir is several times smaller compared to the Kakhovka water reservoir that has now been affected. Both dams are part of a system of hydroelectric power plants along the Dnipro River.
Due to the strategic importance of the Zaporizhzhia dam, the NKVD intelligence service was preparing for its destruction. On August 18, 1941, according to research by Die Welt, an estimated 20 tons of explosives were detonated in the dam wall at around 15:20 p.m. local time. They tore a hole in the dam 175 meters long and up to 21 meters high, through which a wave almost six meters high rushed down the Dnipro.
In 1941, Soviet soldiers blew up the Zaporizhzhia Dam
The explosion also destroyed the engine room with its nine massive generators and cut off the power supply. All industrial plants in Zaporizhzhia failed abruptly, some of which were irreparably damaged. The number of victims is completely unclear. According to estimates, the number ranges from a few hundred to 80,000 to 120,000 dead.
Weeks after the demolition of the Zaporizhzhia Dam in August 1941, the plant was occupied and repaired by German soldiers, allowing water to be dammed up again. Only two years later, however, the Wehrmacht soldiers destroyed the building again – this time to secure their own retreat. In 1950, already in the middle of the Cold War between Stalin's USSR and the free West, the power plant resumed electricity production.
Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of blowing up the Dnipro dam
Meanwhile, Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of being responsible for the destruction of the Dnipro dam. Experts see the responsibility with Russia. "Everything suggests that the Russians blew up the dam," military expert Carlo Masala of the Bundeswehr University in Munich told the news portal t-online. Moscow is thus pursuing two goals in the Ukraine war: to create chaos and to hinder a counteroffensive by Ukraine.
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Meanwhile, the Kremlin has accused Ukraine of destroying the important dam in Russian-occupied Nova Kakhovka. Moscow rejected accusations from Kiev and the West. "We officially declare that this is clearly a deliberate sabotage of the Ukrainian side, carried out on orders (...) of the Kiev regime," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. He did not provide any evidence for the allegations. (bohy)