Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky alleged that Russian forces have mined a critical dam on the Dnipro river in the southern Kherson region, as well as the adjacent hydroelectric plant.
"We have information that Russian terrorists have mined the dam and units of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant," Zelensky told the Council of Europe during a video address.
CNN has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for a response to the allegations.
The dam and hydroelectric plant have been working at much-reduced capacity as the area was captured by Russian forces in March. Ukrainian forces are some 40 kilometers (more than 24 miles) north of the dam. Over the past four months, they have launched several strikes against the bridge that forms part of the dam to prevent its use by the Russian military.
Separately, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Ukrainian President's office, said on Twitter Thursday that Russia planned to mine the dam and transformers, forcing the deportation of Ukrainian civilians from Kherson and flooding territory to stop the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the region. The land to the south and east of the river is low-lying.
"Russia is preparing a man-made catastrophe," Podolyak said.
What pro-Moscow officials are saying: The Russian-appointed head of the Nova Kakhovka administrative district, Vladimir Leontiev, told Russian state media TASS that it makes no sense for Russia to destroy the dam of the power station.
"What is the point for Russia to destroy it now? Even from a formal point of view, this is nonsense. This is absolute nonsense," Leontiev said.
"First of all, you need to think about who benefits from it: it is only beneficial for Ukraine to destroy the dam, the hydroelectric power station, to disrupt logistics, to sow fear and panic, to stop the possibility of supplying water through the North Crimean Canal to the territory of Crimea," he said, according to TASS.