Paris – The destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam, of which Moscow and Kiev are mutually accused, will submerge the Russian defensive lines in this part of the Dnieper river, but above all it will make it more difficult for a possible Ukrainian counter-offensive in the area.
Through a long channel, the dam supplies water to the Crimean peninsula, annexed in 2014 by Moscow, which could thus encounter major supply problems.
However, many Western observers favor the scenario of Russian sabotage, designed to punish Kiev in the short term, just as the Ukrainian Army is preparing to launch an offensive to try to recover the occupied territories in the south of the country.
That is also the thesis of the Government of Ukraine, which accused Russia of having blown up the dam to “stop” its operations.
On a military level, the rising water in the southern Kherson region will make it difficult for Ukrainian forces who want to cross the Dnieper River from the right bank in an amphibious operation to head for Crimea.
“Russia would be the logical culprit, because by causing a flood from Nova Kajovka, it makes it difficult for the Ukrainians to cross, gains time and can focus on other points on the front,” extended over a thousand kilometers, explained on Twitter the British historian Sergey Radchencko, professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
“I see practically nothing near or far that benefits Ukraine. It is one more destroyed infrastructure, a new destroyed electricity production tool, more suffering for Ukrainian civilians, and a limitation of Ukrainian offensive and logistical options”, adds Stéphane Audrand, an independent French consultant.
Since October, danger has hovered over this strategic facility, located in the Russian-occupied areas of the Kherson region. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky then accused Moscow of having placed mines in the dam, one of the largest in the country. “Lies,” replied the Russian occupation authorities.
A destruction of this type, capable of considerably harming the civilian population, has been considered a war crime since 1949, by virtue of the additional protocol of the Geneva Conventions.
“Dams, dikes and nuclear power plants for the production of electrical energy will not be the object of attacks, even if they constitute military objectives, when such attacks are likely to release those forces and consequently cause severe losses among the civilian population,” the article establishes. 56.
Contemporary history has several examples of the destruction of dams in Europe as part of the military strategy of the time.
In 1941, the Soviets mined Ukraine’s gigantic Zaporizhia dam to slow down the advance of Nazi troops. And in May 1943, British aircraft bombed German hydraulic dams in the Ruhr basin, the industrial heart of the country.
The operation, carried out by aircraft from 617 Squadron RAF, broke two of the three dams and damaged the third. The episode was immortalized in the film “The Dam Busters” (1955), known in Spanish as “Mission of the brave” and “Los destructores de diques”.