The Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update that "Russian forces will likely attempt to blow up the dam at the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant to cover their withdrawal and prevent Ukraine's forces from pursuing Russian forces deeper into Russian-occupied Kherson Oblast."
According to the ISW, Russia "has every reason to attempt to provide cover to its retreating forces and to widen the Dnipro River, which Ukrainian forces would need to cross to continue their counteroffensive."
The ISW said Russian authorities may believe that blowing up the dam will provide a buffer zone around eastern Kherson Oblast that would prevent Ukraine from getting within artillery reach of Russian-occupied Crimea.
As the ISW previously reported, Russia will almost certainly blame Ukraine for any dam attack. Blowing up the dam would put more than 80 settlements, including Kherson, in the zone of rapid flooding, Zelensky said earlier on Oct. 20.