How the Kajovka dam exploded: the evidence that accumulates against Russia

Evidence of one of the explosions caused by submersible mines that were placed by Russian forces to explode under water pressure. (to mold)

The first explosion occurred at 2:46 a.m. on Tuesday, June 6. Then others came. Norsarthe Norwegian agency that detects seismic movements in Europe assures that 8 minutes later, at 2:54 a.m., it recorded an earthquake created by an explosion in the same area that was recorded by the Bukovinain Romania. The evidence accumulates and points to the Russian occupying forces as responsible for the blowing up of the strategic Kakhovka dam on Ukraine’s Dnipro River.

According to the British intelligence agency molfarwho provided the documents to infobaethe Russians who have maintained control of the dam since the first days of the invasion in February 2022, they placed submersible explosives in the concrete walls and raised the water level until the pressure caused detonation. They did it this way because with regular explosions the structure would not have given way as it did when hundreds of thousands of liters of water finished doing the job. molfar He also calculated that the impact of one or several regular missiles like the ones that have been fired up to now in this war, could not have caused the fall of such a barrier either. The Russian journalist specializing in military issues, Kostyantyn Ryzhenkoalso said in Telegram that “according to video analysis, the hydroelectric power station was blown up from the inside, no rocket or artillery could have caused such damage.”

Kakhovka.  Soldier/blogger Yehor Guzenko.
Soldier/blogger Yehor Guzenko in front of the Kakhovka power plant. He posted on Telegram: “I can’t say what our guys did, but I think everyone reads the news.” (Telegram)

At the same time, a series of communications were detected between the members of the 205th Brigade of the 1st Motorized Rifle Battalion who were in charge of the dam while performing that morning and talked about taking cover from an imminent explosion. The soldier/blogger Yehor Guzenko posted on Telegram: “I can’t say what our boys did, but I think everyone reads the news”. And she accompanied him with a photo having lunch in front of the facilities of the engine room of the dam. He also said that several of his classmates were going to receive decorations for “great job done”. The troops, according to the Molfar agency, were commanded by the colonel of the Russian army, Oleg Makarevich Leontiyovych, who would have been the person who gave the order to destroy the dam. Another Telegram channel used by the brigade had already warned in October 2022 that the site was mined and would be blown up if Ukrainian forces tried to cross the Dnieper river. He also gave advice to Russian troops to stay safe when the explosion happened.

To achieve the objective, it was essential to increase the water pressure and for that the Russians closed the floodgates. The maximum height recorded in the last 20 years was 17 meters. That mark was never exceeded, and Ukrainian engineers recommended keeping it much lower. Official records show that the average was 14 meters. At dawn on June 6, the height had risen to 17 meters and 45 centimetersabove the maximum handled by experts in the last two decades, according to official data.

Different images compiled by the British agency Molfar that show the destruction of the infrastructure of the Kakhovka dam through satellite images and that a part of the infrastructure made up of the inner street had already been destroyed a day before. (to mold)

According to him Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Russia had a “greater and clearer interest in flooding the left bank, since it would widen the Dnieper and make it difficult to pass through the Ukraine, at the cost of flooding some of its own positions. In early June, Russia emptied the water from the reservoir to force Ukrainian reconnaissance parties to abandon the downstream islands.”

The Kakhovska dam was a strategic point from the first moment of the Russian invasion, controls the flow of fresh water from the occupied (in 2014) Crimean peninsula and the reservoir that keeps the temperature of the nuclear reactors at the Zaporizhzhia power plant low, the largest in Eastern Europe, is essential for some 10 million hectares of crops and provides drinking water to more than 10 million people. With the explosion and the subsequent flooding, some 50,000 people who remained in the occupied areas of the Kherson region where all the agricultural and industrial infrastructure that stood on the banks of the river and the reservoirs were submerged under water are being evacuated. Oleh Kiperthe governor of Odessaat the mouth of the river on the Black Sea, warned that the waters were carrying mines and explosives that the Russians placed in the region and making navigation very dangerous.

Kakhovka.  Colonel of the Russian army, Oleg Makarevich Leontiyovych, responsible for blowing up the dam.
The colonel of the Russian army, Oleg Makarevich Leontiyovych, who is in charge of the occupation troops in Kakhovka and who, according to the Molfar agency, would be responsible for blowing up the dam.

All analysts agree that the blowing up of the dam had the objective of stopping the counteroffensive launched this week by Ukrainian forces. They even did so to the detriment of some defenses they had erected on the higher ground on the eastern bank of the Dnipro. “Let us remember that armies that go on the offensive do not blow up barrages to block their path of advance. On the contrary, it is the retreating armies that carry out such actions to stop the advance of the other side”, explains the agency molfar in your report.

in these “Bloodlands” What does the historian call them? Timothy Snyder, similar events have already been recorded in previous conflicts. During World War II in Ukraine there were two dam blow-ups on the Dnieper. The first caused by the withdrawal of the forces of the NKVDthe political militias of the former Soviet Union, in August 1941 before the advance of the forces of Nazi Germany in the Operation Barbarossa and which killed nearly 100,000 Ukrainian civilians. The second was caused by the withdrawal of the Nazi occupiers in 1943, after the Soviet counteroffensive in the Battle of Kursk. The Kakhovka dam was built in 1956 and had already seen other attempted attacks by Russian forces in 2014 when they invaded Crimea and created the separatist enclaves of Donetsk and Luhansk in the industrialized Donbass region.

In Moscow, people had been talking about the blowing up of the Kakhovka dam for months. On October 21, 2022, the TG channel of the 205th Brigade on Telegram he had already revealed in a post that the dam was mined “to be exploited if the Armed Forces of Ukraine want to advance and enter Kherson uncontrolled”. The author also estimated at 70% the probability that the Russians blew up the dam. In October, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine indicated that the mining was carried out in April 2022, and in October the locks and supports of the hydroelectric power plant were also mined, and trucks with explosives were located in the prey itself. Three days later, on 10/23/2022, the same TG channel published recommendations for Kherson residents in case the dam was blown up.

View of the city of Nova Kakhovka under water after the explosion that destroyed the strategic dam.  (REUTERS/Yan Dobronosov)
View of the city of Nova Kakhovka under water after the explosion that destroyed the strategic dam. (REUTERS/Yan Dobronosov) (STRINGER/)

That same week, the website published an interview with the military expert roman svitan in which he stated that the blowing up of the dam was “the most logical maneuver” for the occupants. When Ukrainian forces managed to liberate Kherson in November last year, they came right up to the banks of the Dnipro and had to leave the dam in the hands of the Russians to prevent it from being destroyed. They knew it was mined. It is believed that the Russian command did not do so because they believed that the troops would be able to pass through the bridge that crosses over the dam to recapture Kherson. This despite the fact that the Kremlin’s military “correspondents” like the late Vladlen Tatarskythey called “finish the work” through their social media channels. In December it was learned that two officers from the paramilitaries of the wagner group for “evaluate whether or not they destroyed the hydroelectric power station”. A photo of them in the place appeared on the Russian social network VKontakte.

In May of this year, the attack was speculated on Russian television. Russian military analyst for Izvestia TV channel Dmitriy Astrakhan, said that the maneuver was being prepared and that it would have as its objective to stop the Ukrainian troops in their advance in the south of the country for at least a week. And on May 30, that is, a week before the dam was blown up, the Russian government passed a resolution according to which, “until January 1, 2028, technical investigations of accidents in hydrotechnical structures that occurred as a result of military operations, sabotage and terrorist activities should not be carried out in the occupied Ukrainian territories”. In other words, the Kremlin even prepared the ground to determine its responsibility in the event that what happened in a special court is judged as what it is: a “war crime.”

Keep reading:

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The Red Cross warned that the mines carried by the dam disaster in Ukraine endanger thousands of people