In an exclusive interview with Kyiv Post, Head of the Kherson Regional Military Administration, Yaroslav Yanushevich, discussed the illegal supply of water to Crimea, organized by the Russian occupiers.

“At the end of February, the Russian invaders seized the facilities of the Kakhovskaya hydro-electric power plant. They blew up the dams that [had hitherto] prevented the Dnipro water from reaching temporarily occupied Crimea. As such, water is being illegally supplied to the peninsula,” Yanushevich stated.

He emphasized that the Kherson Regional Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the crime. The deputy commander of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation, along with the commander of the 11th separate engineering brigade of the Southern Military District, have both been declared internationally wanted.

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According to Yanushevich, as a result of the canal structures being undermined, significant damage has been caused to civil infrastructure, making it impossible to irrigate agricultural land in the territories of the Skadovsky and Kakhovsky districts of the Kherson region.

Water used to flow along the North Crimean Canal, which was created in the 1960s and 1970s. In the spring of 2014, following Russia’s capture and illegal annexation of Crimea, Ukraine built a dam to block the water supply from the Dnipro to the peninsula. Kyiv appealed to the fact that Russia, as the occupying country, should be responsible for securing supplies to the captured territories. The Kremlin then declared a “water genocide” of the Crimeans.

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Even before the meeting opened, the war in Ukraine took centre stage. The Group of Seven countries held their own talks on the sidelines to discuss shoring up Western support for Kyiv.

Russia’s launch of a full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, changed everything. The Kherson region was captured in a matter of days and the Russians destroyed the dam, which re-opened the flow of water to the Crimean peninsula.

According to State Environmental Inspection calculations, losses caused by the arbitrary use of water resources in Ukraine amounts to 32.6 million Hr. per day ($800,000). In total, Ukraine faces losses to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars due to the actions of the Russian occupiers.

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