Ukrhydroenergo seeks damages for Russia's destruction of dam

KYIV (Reuters) -Ukraine's hydro-electric company Ukrhydroenergo said on Thursday it had initiated international arbitration seeking damages for Russia's destruction of the Kakhovka Dam and power station in June 2023.

The state-run company estimated the damage at 2.5 billion euros ($2.72 billion), it said. Ukrhydroenergo declined to say where it had begun the arbitration process.

The Kakhovka dam, one of six dams on the Dnipro river that flows through central and southern Ukraine, was captured at the start of Moscow's February 2022 invasion.

Kyiv has blamed Russian forces for blowing up the Kakhovka Dam on the night of June 6, 2023, which flooded swathes of arable land, leaving tens of thousands of people without drinking water and Europe's largest nuclear power plant without enough water to cool the reactors.

Russia blamed Ukraine, saying it was trying to distract from the launch of a major counteroffensive.

"The company's actions aim to compensate for the losses caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant," Ukrhydroenergo said in a statement.

"The company believes that initiating international arbitration process is the most promising way to compensate for the losses."

Ukrhydroenergo said the Russian president, the government, and other authorised bodies were officially informed of the dispute.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in June last year accused Ukraine of destroying the Kakhovka dam at the suggestion of the West, in what he called a "barbaric" war crime that escalated the conflict with Moscow.

"From the first hours (of the invasion) the station was occupied by the military and all responsibility falls on the military of the Russian Federation, because it was under their full control," Ukrhydroenergo CEO Ihor Syrota told Ukrainian television.


Electricity from Ukrainian hydro-electric power plants was a key energy source for Ukraine, and the company's plants were repeatedly subjected to Russian missile attacks.

Russian missile and drone attacks on Ukraine's energy sector have intensified since March, resulting in blackouts in many regions and power supply restrictions.

Ukrhydroenergo said that since the start of the invasion, Russia had fired about 120 missiles at the company's power stations.

Syrota said the Ukrainian hydro-electric sector lost 40% of its generating capacity due to missile attacks while thermal power stations lost 80% of their capacity.

He said Ukraine was able to generate up to 33,000 MWh in 2012-2013 and about 25,000 MWh before the Russian invasion. In 2023, Ukrainian installed power capacity totalled 18,000 MWh and only 9,000 MWh now.

Ukrainian power producers have said the country consumes around 18,000 MWh in winter.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Yuliia Dys; editing by Jason Neely, Alexandra Hudson and Jane Merriman)