The former deputy chairman of the SBU, Major General Viktor Yagun, in an interview with The Insider, said that Ukraine was definitely not going to undermine the dam, but Surovikin could theoretically do this in an attempt to keep Kherson:
“No one from the Ukrainian side, even in a nightmare, thinks about blowing up the dam. If the Ukrainian army continues to advance, Surovikin can give the order to blow up the dam to flood everything and demolish the city. He understands that he will be removed from his post if he loses Kherson, and he is not interested in the fact that an entire regional center, a bunch of civilians and military from both sides, could fall under attack.
In the Kakhovka reservoir, where the power plant is [located], there is a small section of the bridge. The Russians flooded several wagons with gravel there. Whether there are explosives in these cars and whether they were intended to be blown up is unknown.
If Russia blows up the dam, there will be no water in Crimea. There will be an ecological catastrophe. In addition to the fact that people will die, this wave will wash away two reserves - and all this will go to the Black Sea, will pass along the Kinburn Spit.
Ukrainian military expert Leonid Dmitriev notes that only 6.5 tons of explosives are needed to blow up the dam, but the water will flood only the left bank of the Dnieper, and people are being taken out of the area on the right bank:
“If they are preparing to flood the right bank of the Dnieper, they will have to blow up the cascade of the Dnieper reservoirs - from the Kyiv Sea to the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station - so that the water level in the Dnieper rises above 12 meters at once. Because the right bank of the Dnieper is high. But these dams are under the control of Ukraine - in order to blow them up remotely and at the same time, one cannot do without a nuclear charge.
Dmitriev believes that Russia needed the wagons with rubble that Yagun is talking about in order to make an embankment in place of the old locks and at least somehow ensure the transport of goods. He added that it was already necessary to blow up the dam of the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station during the Second World War, and all experts are well aware of where to lay the charges.
Ukrainian military expert Sergei Grabsky is convinced that Russia is not going to blow up the dam and is deliberately creating panic to force people to leave:
“Ukrainian troops continue active offensive operations and, most likely, Russia will not be able to hold the Kherson direction. Therefore, they organize such a demonstrative evacuation. They do it in a very strange manner, making unnecessary noise and wringing their hands. We know how Ukraine organized such evacuations, and there was no such hysteria.
Undermining the dam at Novaya Kakhovka is not of any military interest to Russia. It will lead to the flooding of those areas that are under the occupation of Russian troops. From the point of view of common sense, this would look completely crazy, but knowing who we are dealing with, and remembering that in 1941 they already undermined the dam in Zaporozhye, which killed tens of thousands of people, I cannot completely discard the assumption that they can repeat it.
Technically, Russia can certainly blow up the dam. I think she has enough explosive materials. But this is absolutely not profitable for her, on the contrary, she should be interested in this dam to survive, because the North Crimean Canal goes there, and any event there will mean that the Crimea will be cut off from the water. All this looks like a serious information stuffing. I can't call it anything other than hysteria, the creation of a hysterical picture.
You need to understand that the Russian political regime needs a picture - and these reports that the Ukrainian army is going to shell the city are designed precisely to create a propaganda show with the evacuation in order to motivate people (if you try to understand the logic of Russian propaganda): “If you If you don’t leave, everything will be flooded there and you will find yourself in the hands of the bloody Bandera people.” Russia has already announced that people will receive housing certificates and can permanently settle in Russia. People are forced to leave not for the developed parts of Russia, but for depressed regions, so that they become hostages of the situation there. I would also consider it from the point of view that this is a policy of forced deportation without the possibility of returning back.
Ukraine also has no military interest in blowing up the dam. This is Ukrainian territory, and we are acting according to completely different protocols, we are liberating lands. The cost of recovery will be enormous. Why create additional complexity with your own hands? Undermining the dam will lead to catastrophic consequences, first of all, for the Crimea, because it will not be possible to use the isthmuses, only a thin thread in the form of the Crimean bridge will remain.”