Rainer Saks: Blowing the Kakhovka Dam would force Russians back

Rainer Saks.
Rainer Saks. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Blowing the dam of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Plant on the Dnipro River would cause major problems for Ukraine, while it would also force Russian forces to evacuate the western bank of the river and pull back on the eastern one, security expert Rainer Saks suggested on the Vikerhommik morning show.

"Blowing the dam would not be cut and dry, would not only harm the Ukrainian side. It would cause Ukraine major problems, while Russia would have to pull its troops out of the west bank of the river and fall back quite a ways on the eastern bank," Saks explained.

Russian-occupied Crimea would also lose its water supply.

The expert said that while he cannot rule out the Russians collapsing the dam, he holds it unlikely.

"Ukraine has a slight indirect fire advantage in the HIMARS and prefers to avoid casualties, and we can see the Russians making preparations for pulling out of Kherson," Saks suggested. "Holding the west bank of the Dnipro (Dnieper) was a psychological goal for Russia. But now, Putin has agreed to a withdrawal to suggest how bad their situation must be."

Russia is trying to cover for the withdrawal by hinting at a new offensive being prepared from the Belarus side. Saks holds such an offensive unlikely.

Saks also said that Ukraine is set to take delivery of tools that will allow it to more effectively combat Iranian drones that Russia uses to hit its power grid.

There is confusion in Russia concerning the mobilization continuing and the matter of new conscripts. "It is currently a major headache for the Russian leadership, while things are about to become much worse after New Year's, which is when we will learn the casualties among those mobilized," Saks suggested.

Saks also said that the problem for Russia is not how many it can catch "in the streets," but rather what to do with them. "Losses will mount as soon as the mobilized hit the front."

Talking about the longer term, the expert said the current Russian political leadership cannot afford to negotiate giving up occupied territories. "Their losses aren't that great yet."

"This might happen once Ukraine has inflicted enough losses on Russia, perhaps at the start of next year," Saks offered.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Thursday that Russian forces have mined the dam of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Plant. The dam is located on the Dnipro River and its destruction would cause a major disaster, Zelenskyy suggested.

Blowing the dam would cause a major flood that could affect Kherson and put the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant out of commission.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on Thursday that Russia could hit the dam and blame Ukraine. It is possible Moscow hopes that destroying the dam could cover Russian retreat from the right-side bank of the Dnipro. It would also hinder the Ukrainian offensive.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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