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Russian-occupied Kherson loses power after alleged ‘sabotage’

The Russian-installed Kherson administration blamed the blackout on Ukraine, accusing it of attacking the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam.

The Russian-installed administration in Ukraine’s Kherson region has said the city of Kherson lost its water and power supply after what it called an act of “sabotage.”

In a statement on Telegram, the Russian-installed Kherson administration said a “terrorist attack” damaged three power lines in the region.

He said the attack had been carried out by Ukraine, although he provided no evidence.

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The outages are “the result of an attack organized by the Ukrainian side on the Berislav-Kakhovka highway that saw three concrete poles of high-voltage power lines damaged,” it said.

It is the first time that Kherson, which fell to Russian forces within days of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February, has suffered such a power outage.

Kherson is one of four regions that Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed last month.

Russian state news agency TASS quoted Moscow-appointed Kherson Governor Vladimir Saldo as saying there were plans to restore the city’s power supply by the end of the day.

Energy specialists were working to “quickly” resolve the issue, Russian-backed authorities said while asking people to “remain calm”.

TASS separately quoted emergency services in the region as saying that 10 settlements, including the city of Kherson, which had a population of 280,000 before the war, had been left without power.

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Russian authorities have repeatedly warned civilians in recent weeks to leave Kherson amid what they say are preparations for a Ukrainian offensive against the city, the only regional capital Russia has captured since it invaded Ukraine on February 24.

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News of the blackout followed reports that the Kakhovka dam in the Russian-controlled Kherson region was “damaged” by a Ukrainian attack.

“Today at 10:00 (08:00 GMT) there was an impact of six HIMARS rockets. Air defense units shot down five missiles, one hit a lock of the Kakhovka dam, which was damaged,” Russian news agencies quoted local emergency services as saying.

The RIA Novosti news agency quoted a Moscow-backed local official as saying the damage was not “critical”.

flood threat

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The Kakhovka hydroelectric dam in southern Ukraine was captured by Moscow forces at the start of their offensive. It supplies water to Crimea, annexed by Russia.

Ukraine has been warning in recent weeks that Moscow forces intended to blow up the strategic facility to cause flooding.

Russian attacks over the past month have destroyed around a third of Ukraine’s power plants and the government has urged Ukrainians to conserve electricity as much as possible.

But until now, Ukraine had rarely attacked Russian-controlled civilian energy infrastructure in territory annexed by Moscow, preferring to target Russian military supply lines.

Saldo said that the destruction of the dam would lead to the flooding of the left bank of the Dnieper River.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said last month that Russian forces had mined the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant with the intention of blowing it up.

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Their destruction could cause flash flooding for hundreds of thousands of people, he warned.

He said cutting off water supplies to the south could also affect the cooling systems of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest.

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