Kyiv and Western countries have accused Russian forces of blowing up the Kakhovka dam and hydroelectric power station in the Kherson region – an area Moscow has controlled for more than a year.
Russia has denied damaging the dam, instead trying to shift the blame onto Ukrainian "night attacks" on the region that had "led to the destruction of the valves" at the facility.
It has led to the evacuation of thousands of people in nearby villages and towns, with fears that the collapse of the dam will inhibit water from getting to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which the plant uses for cooling.
The escalation has led Tobias Ellwood – the chair of the UK Parliament’s defence select committee – to warn that Vladimir Putin may look to use even more deadly attacks in the ongoing war with Ukraine.
Ellwood told Times Radio: "We’re moving into Russia using, creating, weapons of mass destruction which could have a devastating scale on a humanitarian perspective."
Ellwood said the West should be willing to step in to prevent "a massive, large-scale disaster which could easily bleed out well beyond Ukrainian itself."
Accusing Russia of being behind the attack, Ellwood added: "We cannot be bystanders while watching Putin destroy this critical national infrastructure.
Watch: Russia blows up major dam in Kherson region, says Ukraine
"And I do hope the powers that be, the international community, is looking very carefully at this, because we cannot dismiss Putin’s desire to wreak havoc."
Ukraine has blamed Russia for blowing up the dam and has suggested that Putin may be planning to blow up the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
Oleksiy Danilov, the top security official to Ukraine’s president Zelensky, told The Times that "the whole world" should be concerned by how reckless Moscow could be.
He said it is a "fact" that there are explosives at the nuclear plant, warning that Putin is "ready to do anything."
However, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said there is "no immediate nuclear safety risk" following the collapse of the dam.
Nevertheless, Tory MP Bob Seely, who has served in the UK Armed Forces, has also warned that Britain "underestimates" the threat of Putin using tactical nuclear weapons – which are smaller than strategic nukes and used for specific targets rather than for mass destruction – in his battle for control of Ukraine.
Seely told GB News earlier this week that Putin "always escalates out of a crisis" – but added that he "probably won’t" use tactical nuclear weapons over fears of losing support from China and India.
Kherson dam attack a ‘war crime’
While Russia insists it is not behind the collapse of the dam, the West has rallied together to condemn it.
Foreign secretary James Cleverly described it as an "abhorrent act", adding that "intentionally attacking exclusively civilian infrastructure is a war crime."
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the destruction of the dam would mark a "new low" in the conflict if Russian forces were found to be responsible.
He said that attacks on civilian infrastructure were "appalling and wrong."
German chancellor Olaf Scholz described the alleged attack as a "new dimension" of Russia's war, adding that it "joins many, many of the crimes we have seen in Ukraine that have emanated from Russian soldiers”.
NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said the destruction of the dam was an "outrageous act."
But Evgeny Popov, a member of the Duma for Putin’s United Russia party and state television presenter has said, said it was Ukraine that committed a war crime.
Asked whether he would accept that if Russia is found to be behind the attack, it committed a war crime, he told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: "I’m sure that this war crime made by the Ukrainian regime, made by Zelensky. We don’t need to do that. We are not attacking civilian infrastructure.
"Of course, Ukrainian regime will be prosecuted for this war crime."