Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure were aimed at creating a new wave of refugees.

Addressing the European Council in a video address, Zelensky said that after failing to use energy resources as a weapon against Europe, “the current Russian leadership has ordered to turn the energy system itself into a field of The consequences are very dangerous, again for all of us in Europe.

“Russian cruise missile attacks and Iranian attack drones have destroyed more than a third of our energy infrastructure,” he said. “Because of this, unfortunately, we can no longer export electricity to help you maintain stability.”

Days of devastating Russian attacks on energy infrastructure have caused the country to lose at least 40% of its power generation capacity. Ukrainian officials warned earlier this week that emergency and scheduled power cuts would follow.

Zelensky added: “Russia is also causing a new wave of migration of Ukrainians to EU countries. The terror of Russia against our energy installations aims to create as many electricity and heat problems as possible in Ukraine this autumn and winter and to send as many Ukrainians as possible to your countries.

Mined Critical Barrage: Zelensky also claimed that Russia was setting the stage for a large-scale disaster in southern Ukraine, with Russian forces operating a critical dam on the Dnipro River in the southern region of Kherson, as well as the adjacent hydroelectric power station.

“We have information that Russian terrorists mined the dam and units of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station,” Zelensky told the Council of Europe in a video address.

“The dam of this hydroelectric plant contains about 18 million cubic meters of water.

“If Russian terrorists blow up this dam, more than 80 settlements, including Kherson, will be in the rapid flood zone. Hundreds of thousands of people could suffer. Water supplies to much of southern Ukraine could be destroyed. This Russian terrorist attack could leave the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant without water for cooling – water for the ZNPP is taken from the Kakhovka reservoir. ”

A satellite image shows a view of the location of the Kakhovka dam, right, and the surrounding area in Kherson, Ukraine, October 18.

CNN contacted the Russian Ministry of Defense for a response to the allegations.

The dam and hydroelectric plant operated at a greatly reduced capacity as the area was captured by Russian forces in March. Ukrainian forces are about 40 kilometers (over 24 miles) north of the dam. Over the past four months, they have launched several strikes against the bridge which is part of the dam to prevent its use by the Russian army.

Separately, Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the office of the Ukrainian president, said on Twitter on Thursday that Russia planned to undermine the dam and transformers, forcing the deportation of Ukrainian civilians from Kherson and flooding the territory to stop the counteroffensive. Ukrainian in the region. The land to the south and east of the river is low.

“Russia is preparing a man-made disaster,” Podolyak said.

What pro-Moscow officials say: The Russian-appointed head of the Nova Kakhovka administrative district, Vladimir Leontiev, told Russian state media TASS that it was foolish for Russia to destroy the power plant dam.

“What’s the point of Russia destroying it now?” Even from a formal point of view, this is nonsense. This is absolute nonsense,” Leontiev said.

“First of all, you have to think about who benefits: it is only beneficial for Ukraine to destroy the dam, the hydroelectric power station, to disrupt logistics, to sow fear and panic, to prevent the possibility of water supply through the Northern Crimean Canal to the territory of Crimea,” he said, according to TASS.

Tetyana Safonova, 61, sits with her cat Asya as she looks at her mobile phone during a power outage on October 20, 2022 in Borodyanka, Ukraine.

Cars move along a dark road during energy conservation on Thursday, October 20, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

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