Demonstrators chant during a protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine outside the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin vowed to demilitarize the country and replace its leaders. Photographer: Eric Lee/Bloomberg ukraine-warns-russia-planning-to-blow-up-hydroelectric-dam Ukraine accused Russia of plotting to demolish a hydroelectric dam in the eastern Kherson region, where Ukrainian troops have been slowly advancing and Moscow-installed authorities have begun evacuations. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russian forces mined the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station with the intention of blowing it up, resulting in a “catastrophe on a large scale.” Hundreds of thousands of people in the lower Dnipro River basin would face rapid flooding if the dam were damaged, Zelensky warned in a speech to European leaders on Thursday. He stated that restricting water supply to the south could have an impact on the cooling systems of Europe’s largest nuclear power station, Zaporizhzhia. And the North Crimean canal, which provides a critical water supply to Crimea, which Russia has occupied since 2014. According to Zelensky’s adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, Russia’s purpose in the region is to block Ukrainian advances and safeguard Russian troops. – Battleground for energy Cities across Ukraine began reducing electricity consumption ahead of winter on Thursday, as authorities warned that Russian strikes on the country’s energy grid will cause a new wave of refugees to flee the country. “Russia’s leadership has given the command to convert the energy system itself into a battlefield, with very severe ramifications for all of us in Europe,” Zelensky said in a speech to the EU council. Authorities implemented energy-saving measures across the country after Russian missile and drone strikes destroyed at least 30% of the country’s power stations in a week. Following overnight blackouts in sections of Kyiv, Mayor Vitali Klitschko asked businesses to minimize screens and signs lighting “as much as possible.” “Even tiny savings and reductions in electricity consumption in every residence will assist stabilize the national energy grid,” he stated. Ukrainians reacted badly “It’s not going to change our attitude; maybe we’ll just detest them more,” said Olga, a Dnipro resident who declined to give her last name. “I’d rather be cold and without water and electricity than in Russia,” she remarked. According to Kyrylo, an electronics merchant, people were racing to acquire supplementary power supplies such as generators and batteries. “I think there will be nothing that we cannot survive,” he remarked of the impending winter. “There will be some kind of heating in any case, and the fact that it will be 16 (degrees Celsius, or 61 Fahrenheit) instead of 20 (degrees Celsius, or 61 Fahrenheit) doesn’t matter much; just put on a thermal and socks,” he said. – On the ground Iranians Meanwhile, the White House stated it had evidence of Iranians directly participating in the fight, assisting Russians in directing their Iranian-made “kamikaze drones” – which are destroyed in attacks on Ukrainian targets such as power plants. “Tehran is now directly participating on the ground and through the provision of weapons that are affecting people and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine,” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said. He also expressed fear that Iran would send surface-to-surface missiles to Russia for use in the fight. ukraine-warns-russia-planning-to-blow-up-hydroelectric-dam “The US will use all available methods to expose, dissuade, and oppose Iran’s provision of these armaments against the Ukrainian people,” he continued. The European Union and the United Kingdom sanctioned three Iranian generals and an arms corporation accused of providing drones to Russia. However, bipartisan support for military aid to Ukraine is beginning to dwindle in Washington, with Republicans signaling that money could be stopped after the November legislative midterm elections. “They said if they win, they’re not inclined to pay, to continue to fund Ukraine,” US Vice President Joe Biden stated during a campaign stop in Pennsylvania. “They don’t understand American foreign policy.” – Evacuation of Kherson Little has changed along the lengthy front lines, where Russia has been deploying much of the 200,000 fresh troops. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited a training center for mobilized troops south of Moscow on Thursday, where he embraced soldiers and shot a pistol. Some warriors opened their rucksacks to show him what they were carrying, and when he asked about his family, he was told he had a five-year-old daughter. Putin gave him a hug and told him “good luck.” Meanwhile, Russia continued to evacuate residents of Kherson city as Ukrainian forces drew closer to the southern center, which has been in Moscow’s hands since the beginning of the invasion in February. According to the Moscow-installed administration in Kherson, around 15,000 people have been relocated. Images on Russia’s Rossiya 24 TV showed passengers waiting to board ships after being unable to utilize bridges damaged by Ukraine. A pro-Russian figure, Kirill Stremousov, stated on Telegram that the evacuations would give Russian forces greater room to fight and that they would not hand over the city to the Ukrainians. “Remember, no one is giving up Kherson,” he continued. However, Ukrainians claimed that the exodus of inhabitants from the area was the result of forceful deportations to Russia. According to the Institute for the Study of War’s daily report, Russian leadership “are likely preparing information conditions to justify anticipated Russian retreats and major territorial losses” as Ukrainian forces continue to press in on Kherson city.