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The war in Ukraine. The Pieczeniha Dam attacked by the Russians. “The consequences can be gigantic” & More Breaking News

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The Russians have been bombing and trying to destroy the dam on the Pechensky Lagoon for several days, the general staff of the Ukrainian army informed on Tuesday. It is a huge reservoir that is the main source of water for the whole of Kharkiv and its vicinity. Its destruction can be catastrophic. – This is another attack on critical infrastructure in Ukraine, which is to weaken the morale of Ukrainians in the winter – says the expert.

The spokesman of the general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces on Tuesday evening summarized the course of operations at the front over the last 24 hours. He said, among others about 7 Russian missile attacks and 20 air strikes, both against military and civilian targets. – The occupiers tried to destroy the dam on the Pechensky Lagoon near the Pecheniha settlement, but they failed – he added.

The dam near Kharkiv

The information did not provide more details about the attack, but the mention of it was widely reported in the Ukrainian media. The Pechensky Lagoon is located on the Donets River about 40 kilometers east of Kharkiv and is one of the largest in Ukraine. Filled in the 1960s, it has a stored approximately 383 million cubic meters of water. For comparison, the largest Polish reservoir of this type – Solińskie Lake – has little more, about 472 million cubic meters of water.

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The Pecheniski reservoir is one of the largest in UkraineGoogle Maps

The destruction by the Russians of the dam on such a huge flood and the release of the water it contained would have catastrophic consequences. Local authorities have already called on everyone living in the vicinity of the dam to monitor the messages issued 24 hours a day and be ready to evacuate at any time. “There is a risk that the enemy will destroy the dam of the Pechenya hydroelectric power plant. Catastrophic flooding downstream could cause an emergency,” the press release said.

What would be the consequences of destroying this dam? As Tadeusz Iwański, head of the Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova Group of the Center for Eastern Studies (OSW) notes in an interview with tvn24.pl, it is not the first time that it has become the target of Russian troops. – The Pecheniski reservoir is the main source of water for the whole of Kharkiv and the surrounding area. If the dam on it were to be destroyed, the consequences could be dire. Especially that winter is approaching, and depriving the city of water could have a very negative impact on the living conditions in it – he emphasized.

The Pecheniski reservoir is one of the largest in UkraineShutterstock

Weaken the morale of the Ukrainians

But why do the Russians want to destroy the Pechenya dam? – This is another attack on critical infrastructure in Ukraine, which is supposed to weaken the morale of Ukrainians – believes Tadeusz Iwański. – Until the counter-offensive in the Kharkiv region, the Russians did not systematically destroy critical civil infrastructure. There were individual attacks aimed at hindering the supply of Western weapons and the logistics of the Ukrainian armed forces, so for example, fuel depots and railway junctions were attacked. But there were no planned and consistent attacks on civilian critical infrastructure in Ukraine, he says.

Now, however, according to the OSW expert, the situation has changed. – Yesterday’s shelling is part of the new, brutal Russian actions aimed at provoking a humanitarian disaster in Ukraine – he assessed. – For the same purpose, the CHP plant in Kharkiv and high-voltage lines in several circuits have already been destroyed – he adds.

In mid-September, the Russians also destroyed another dam near Kryvyi Rih with rocket attacks, which temporarily flooded part of the city with over half a million inhabitants.

Consequences difficult to predict

The destruction of the Pecheniha Dam itself could have serious, albeit regional, consequences for hundreds of thousands of people. However, the consequences of the systematic destruction of Ukrainian power plants, dams and transmission lines in Ukraine will be very difficult to predict. – If these Russian attacks on civilian critical infrastructure are successful, we do not know what effect they will have – admits Tadeusz Iwański.

– So far, the more the Russians exacerbated the conflict and intensified the brutality, the more they were counterproductive and, rather, they only increased the will of resistance among Ukrainians. However, it is not known how this will affect the sentiment in Ukraine in the long run, in winter, whether there will be voices calling for an agreement – he admits.

– On the other hand, even in such a situation, the resistance should weaken only in those areas where people suffer personally from lack of water, heat or electricity, but not in the entire country. On the contrary, in other regions it would additionally increase the anger at the Russians and increase the will to fight – assesses the OSW expert.

Pravda, Hromadske, Ukrinform, tvn24.pl

Main photo source: PAP / EPA – RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY PRESS

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