Ukraine war: Zelensky warns retreating Russian forces plan to blow up huge dam

Kyiv, Ukraine - Ukrainian forces will "hit back even harder" if Russia destroys a hydroelectric power plant in the Kherson region, where Kyiv's troops are advancing on occupying Russian forces, the head of the Ukrainian presidential office threatened on Friday.

The Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant and dam on Dnipro river is under threat, according to Ukrainian officials.
The Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant and dam on Dnipro river is under threat, according to Ukrainian officials.  © via REUTERS

Andrii Yermak tweeted that Moscow's "nuclear blackmail" had failed to intimidate Ukraine and its allies, so now "they are trying to scare everyone by blowing up" the Kakhovka plant on Dnipro river.

"Ukraine will not succumb to peace by coercion... They won't break us. We will hit back even harder," he wrote.

The remarks came hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russia was planning an attack on the plant, which, along with causing major disruptions to power and water supplies, would likely trigger flooding affecting hundreds of thousands of people.

Joke of the Day for May 19, 2024: Get your funny on
Joke of the Day Joke of the Day for May 19, 2024: Get your funny on

"Russia is deliberately creating the basis for a large-scale disaster in the south of Ukraine," Zelensky said in a video address at a meeting of EU leaders late on Thursday.

Kyiv had information that Moscow had mined the site, he claimed.

The Russian army has been moving residents out of the occupied Kherson region for days, which Moscow officially justifies as due to a likely imminent Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Kyiv authorities said 2,000 recruits had arrived on the Kherson front in recent days.

US and Russian defense secretaries hold phone call

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a thermal power plant, damaged by a Russian missile strike in Kyiv on October 18.
Firefighters work to put out a fire in a thermal power plant, damaged by a Russian missile strike in Kyiv on October 18.  © via REUTERS

The Russian army is increasingly going after Ukraine's civilian infrastructure, including power stations, with the use of long-range missiles and Iranian-made drones.

Ukrainian grid operator Ukrenergo said on Friday that it had to restrict power supply in four districts in the country. The company was already forced to cut power on Thursday. The government is urging people nationwide to reduce their electricity use as much as possible.

In Iran, the Foreign Ministry advised its citizens to leave Ukraine as quickly as possible due to the "military escalation" in the nearly eight-month-old war.

Joke of the Day for May 18, 2024: Get your funny on for Caturday
Joke of the Day Joke of the Day for May 18, 2024: Get your funny on for Caturday

US intelligence reported that Russia is using Iran's unmanned Shahed-136 "kamikaze" drones to attack infrastructure sites, with support from Iranian forces on the ground.

At least 12 people have been injured in new airstrikes on Ukrainian cities, according to local authorities on Friday.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu discussed the recent escalations in a phone call, during which the importance of continued communication amid the ongoing war was emphasized.

Cover photo: via REUTERS

More on Ukraine conflict: