Experts point to deliberate explosion behind Kakhovka dam disaster
Engineering and munitions experts point to a deliberate explosion as the most logical reason behind the Kakhovka dam explosion, the New York Times reported on June 7.
A mass humanitarian and ecological disaster unfolded after the Kakhovka dam collapsed around 2:50 a.m. on June 6. According to the Ukrainian authorities, the dam was blown up by Russian forces to prevent a Ukrainian counter-offensive.
According to experts cited by the New York Times, hard evidence of a deliberate explosion was "very limited" given that the dam was located in an active warzone, but "an internal explosion was the likeliest explanation for the destruction of the dam, a massive structure of steel-reinforced concrete that was completed in 1956."
The breach would have required "hundreds of pounds of explosives" to cause the kind of destruction that occurred and "an external detonation by bomb or missile would exert only a fraction of its force against the dam," the experts added.
The dam had previously sustained damage during fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces since the start of the full-scale invasion last year, but the plant was "built to withstand an atomic bomb," Ihor Syrota, the head of Ukraine's state-owned energy company Ukrhydroenergo, said.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba criticized international media on June 6 that entertained Russian narratives that Ukraine might somehow be responsible for the Kakhovka dam's destruction, saying that it "puts facts and propaganda on equal footing."
Over 1,300 people have been rescued or preemptively evacuated from flood zones in the past 24 hours, according to the Interior Ministry, and relief efforts are ongoing.
Meanwhile, the President's Office reported that at least 150 tons of oil had spilled into the Dnipro River following the destruction of the dam, with the risk of 300 additional tons leaking.
The Agriculture Ministry also predicted on June 7 that the disruption caused to the biodiversity in the region by flooding would have unprecedented economic and environmental consequences for years to come.
Russians blow up Kakhovka power plant on Putin's order, water level raised before explosion
Oleksii Danilov, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council (NSDC), has said that Russian forces deliberately blew up the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) on orders from the Kremlin.
"Russian terrorists blew up the dam, using explosives they planted way ahead of time, in September or October of last year, most likely on orders from Moscow. All of this happened yesterday.
The Kremlin, and Putin’s office specifically, issued the order to carry out this terrorist act. Orders like this aren’t normally issued at lower levels. This isn’t the level of a battalion or a division, not even [Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu’s level]" - said Oleksii Danilov.
Blowing up of Kakhovka power plant: Law enforcement officers share details of the investigation
Ten investigative teams are looking into the crime of ecocide and violation of the customs of war in Kherson Oblast, where the dam of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) was blown up.
Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports that It has been established that as a result of the destruction of the dam, there was an uncontrolled release of water with an increase in its level in the lower part of the Dnipro to 12 metres. 26 settlements in the liberated part in Kherson Oblast were flooded. More than 42,000 citizens live in this zone. Meanwhile, there is no accurate information about the status of the man-made disaster in the occupied part of Kherson Oblast.
The destruction of dams - civilian targets containing dangerous forces - is a war crime. This is clearly stated in Article 56 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions. Such actions can be equated to using weapons of mass destruction.
The legal classification is ecocide and violation of the laws and customs of war (Articles 441.1 and 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). The investigation is being run by a specially created interdepartmental and interregional group of Security Service of Ukraine and National Police investigators.
In total, 10 investigative teams are working at the scene. Forty protocols have been drawn up based on the results of reviews of open sources. A number of requests have also been sent to state agencies and services.
Specialists have inspected five locations of flooding events using a quadcopter – the area observed includes four critical infrastructure facilities in Kherson that have to do with water supply and drainage.
The population is being evacuated from flooded areas. At the same time, as reported by the Prosecutor General's Office, the Russians are shelling populated areas where evacuation is taking place.