Dam Destruction Threatens Crimea’s Water Supply, Russia Warns

The destruction of the Kakhovka dam potentially poses problems for a canal supplying water to Crimea that has for years been a point of geopolitical tension between Kyiv and Moscow, Russian officials warned on Tuesday.

The canal, the Northern Crimean Canal, runs approximately 250 miles from the reservoir above the dam down to Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Russia annexed illegally in 2014.

For years, it served as Crimea’s main water resource, but shortly after the annexation, Ukraine blocked the flow of water. Russia restored it after invading last year and occupying the territory around the canal.

The Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said in a briefing on Tuesday that water levels in the reservoir were falling as a result of the dam’s destruction, reducing supply to the canal. Only a small portion of the canal’s water supply is used for drinking water. Most of it is used for agricultural purposes in Crimea.

Sergei Aksyonov, the Kremlin-installed leader of Crimea, said on Tuesday that there was a risk of the water in the canal becoming shallow.

Writing on the Telegram messaging app, Mr. Aksyonov said that 40 million cubic meters of water remained in the canal and that work was being done to minimize losses. He said reservoirs in Crimea were 80 percent full, adding that there was sufficient drinking water for the peninsula’s residents.

“In the coming days, the situation will be clear, as well as the possible risks,” Mr. Aksyonov wrote.

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