Russian Threats to Kherson Dam

A radiation sign in a field
Will Russia use nukes in Ukraine? If so, Kherson might be the place. Photo by Kilian Karger on Unsplash.

If you read this article from the Sun, you might believe that Putin intends to blow up the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Plant, dam and bridge in Ukraine near Kherson, a city where there is a great deal of fighting. The Russians have instructed the population to evacuate, and may themselves soon be on the run after failing to hold off the counter-attacking Ukrainians.

If you dig a little deeper, you realize that what is being reported is a rumor or a prediction. The idea that Russia might attack the dam is not a hard, solid fact. It is conjecture.

First, keep in mind the Sun is a fairly partisan newspaper that has been clearly in the Ukrainian side of the war since day one. Nonetheless, the evacuation order story is in many outlets and is apparently true. The threat to the dam has also been covered elsewhere, including the New York Times. However, Zelenskiy himself has promoted the rumor, and he would only do so if it had some advantage to Ukraine. For all we know, he started the rumor.

Second, Russia has been targeting Ukrainian power plants and causing a loss of generating power and blackouts across the country. Bombing a hydropower plant is consistent with that approach. That lends credibility to this rumor.

Third, in addition to flooding 80 villages, a flood resulting from destruction of the dam could endanger many Russian troops in the area. That makes it seem less likely unless Russia rapidly withdraws its troops.

My Thoughts

This is one of those times you don’t know what to believe. Is Russia planning to attack the hydroelectric dam and cause a massive flood? Are they doing it to cover their retreat and stop Ukraine’s counter attack? Or, is it a story planted by Ukraine so that they can blow up the dam, make the Russians look bad, and win sympathetic media coverage? There’s no way to know.

What if this story about blowing up a dam and telling residents to evacuate is cover for the use of a tactical nuke by Russia? If Russia evacuates many civilians first, they may think they will get less international condemnation for using a nuke. A tactical nuke airburst over the Ukrainian position could be used to gain an advantage on the battlefield, possibly killing tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers on the front line.

Will Russia stoop to using nukes? I don’t know, and I doubt anyone else does. To say otherwise is a guess or speculation. It remains a possibility, and a possibility that we need to keep on our radar.


Preppers need to remember that the use of a tactical nuke in Europe won’t harm any of us here in the United States. Any fallout that reaches us will be far too weak to do any damage. The real danger on this side of the Atlantic will be from panic. Financial panic will hurt the markets. Panic could also cause people to freak out, strip the stores of goods, leaving empty shelves (which would generate more panic once it hits the news). It could even lead to civil unrest.

How the U.S. responds and what happens next is an even bigger concern because the use of nuclear weapons by Russia will not go unanswered. Things will escalate

Will the U.S. or NATO get involved in the war? I expect they will.

Will we use nuclear weapons? I’d think not at first, but it depends on what the Russians did and does next.

Will the U.S. and/or NATO response cause Russia to use more or larger nukes? Possibly. That’s why it’s called escalation.

If so, will this escalation take days, weeks, or even longer? I think we’ll have a good idea of where things are headed within a couple of weeks.

Those are my guesses. Time will tell if I am any more accurate than the Sun.

Bugging Out

In our family, the use of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world is among the criteria for bugging out. That means we’ll have a full house not long after news of a nuclear explosion spreads and kids and prepper pals start showing up.

You should think about how you will react and how the use of a nuclear weapon will affect your plans. Will you bug out? Will you bug in? Do you have the supplies for the latter?

If you are going to bug out, my advice would be to do it early so you beat the wave and avoid the panic. It’s better to bug out when they use a small nuke than when the missiles are flying.

Get your bugout bag packed now and prepare a few boxes of things you want to bring with you. They should be ready to throw into your car when the time comes. Update a thumb drive with copies of your important documents, and carry it on you. Make sure you have plenty of cash on hand because during a panic situation, stores might stop taking credit cards. During or after an attack, the power and Internet might be down, rendering electronic payments useless. If there’s time to prep more after you bug out, you may need cash.

Develop your Plan and be Ready to Execute

Our family members know to bring clothing and footwear, especially warm, durable clothing. Next on our list are warm bedding, pillows and other linens, like towels. Then comes personal medical items and hygiene items. We have food, but food is still welcome. We encouraged them to bring special ingredients, spices, or cooking implements we may not have, and I believe you can never have too many large pots or cast iron cookware.

Make your own list based on your personal circumstances. For example, staying at mom and dad’s house where you grew up may call for a different supply list than staying with your old college roommate who lives in a yurt on a homestead.

I’ve seen professional estimates that the chance nuclear weapons will be used during the Ukraine war is as high as 20 to 25 percent. That’s HUGE. I think that’s worth some preparation.