Russians invasion forces have built a dam on the outskirts of occupied Tokmak in Zaporizhzhya Oblast, presumably to use flooding tactics against Ukraine's counter-offensive, open-source investigative outfit Bellingcat reported on June 29.
The group published satellite images as evidence that the Russians were flooding the area near the town by damming the Tokmachka River.
The dam is located within the Russian defense line, which includes Tokmak. After its construction in early May, the Tokmachka River significantly expanded to the east of the city and flooded nearby fields, Bellingcat writes.
"Tire tracks leading from the dam suggest that it could also function as a second bridge, although the bridge next to it on the P37 road appears to be functioning normally," Bellingcat reported.
Satellite photos from the U.S. company Planet Labs show vehicle track marks leading to the dam on May 3, 2023, as well as the Tokmachka River being cut off on May 6. The water level on the east side of the dam continued to rise through June, as seen in successive satellite images.
"Increasing the water levels of the Tokmachka River could be part of a greater effort aimed at slowing down advancing Ukrainian forces," Bellingcat said.
“More specifically, this may be part of an effort to slow down an eastern envelopment of Tokmak in the event of a Ukrainian breakthrough near the city.”
Tokmak is a city on the road from Zaporizhzhya to Melitopol, which is important both militarily and logistically. Currently, the Ukrainian army is conducting an offensive on the Berdyansk, Melitopol and Bakhmut sections of the front.
Russian forces blew up the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant in the early hours of June 6, triggering widespread flooding that posedd a grave threat to downstream cities and towns along the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast.
The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine also reported the Russian military blowing small dams to prevent Ukraine's counter-offensive.
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