The White House: “We don’t know for sure what happened.” Thousands of civilians fleeing
The United States believes “there could be many deaths” after the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in Ukraine, Kherson region. Flooding has forced thousands of people from their homes and many more civilians are at risk in a region already hard hit by war. The United States “can’t say for sure what happened,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said of the dam’s destruction and adding that there was “significant damage caused by an explosion.”
The United States “hasn’t come to a definitive conclusion yet,” Kirby said. “We are trying to gather information, but it is quite clear that the deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure is not permitted by the laws of war,” he added, while intelligence sources – according to NBC – blamed the disaster on the Russians. Ukrainian authorities, which control the upper right bank of the Dnipro, reported no casualties in the first hours after the event. However, there is no information on the situation in the occupied territories.
While Kiev and Moscow accuse each other, the US media refer to satellite images that would show structural damage present on the dam before the explosion. Therefore, it is not possible to exclude the thesis relating to a failure linked perhaps to the lack of maintenance of the structure, controlled for months by the Russians.
Testimonies from soldiers present in the area of the dam arrive from the Ukrainian side. Captain Andrei Pidlisnyi tells CNN that when the collapse occurred, “no one on the Russian side was able to escape. All the regiments the Russians had on that side were overwhelmed,” he says, referring to a picture that the Kiev forces would also observe with the help of drones.
“Around 3 in the morning” on Tuesday “the enemy blew up the hydroelectric plant to raise the level of the water that bathes the left bank of the Dnepr river in particular with the aim of making a future advance of the Ukrainian armed forces impossible” , he says again. “The left bank is lower than the right, so it is flooded more easily. One must consider that the enemy’s positions are not only trenches, but also ordinary civilian dwellings in which” Russian soldiers “have settled.” According to Pidlisnyi, Russian units may have been surprised by the action, which was kept secret by other departments in Moscow.