New damage has been inflicted on a critical dam that spans the Dnipro River at Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region in the last 24 hours, according to satellite images from Maxar Technologies obtained by CNN.
Water is flowing out of three sluice gates at the dam, where a major hydro-electric project is situated.
It’s unclear how the latest damage, which is close to the west bank, was caused. Local Telegram channels reported Thursday night the sound of explosions around the dam.
The sluice gates under the destroyed sections of the bridge are the only ones releasing water, but it’s unclear from the satellite images whether they were damaged in the explosion and whether the release of water is controlled or impeded by the collapsed sections of bridge.
A photo, which appeared on social media on Friday afternoon, showed water flowing from the corners of the sluice gates and the missing bridge sections. CNN geolocated and confirmed the authenticity of the photo, which was taken from the southern bank of the Dnipro River.
Although Ukrainian armed forces have liberated large swathes of territory in Kherson, they do not appear they have taken control of the dam at Nova Kakhovka.
Ukrhydroenergo, which operates the hydro-electric plant, said it had not heard of fresh damage to the dam and was unable to offer further comment.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant upstream uses the water in the dam’s reservoir to cool its nuclear reactors. The reservoir holds about 18 million cubic meters of water.
On Oct. 21, Ukrainian Defense Intelligence claimed that Russian forces had begun mining the sluice gates and supports at the dam. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also made similar claims in a national speech on Oct. 20.
At the time, Russian-appointed officials in Kherson dismissed the claims as “nonsense.”