Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Gigantic Nova Kakhova Dam in Ukraine Blown Up - Each Side Blames The Other As The War Grinds On

 A day after Ukraine's much-heralded counter-offensive appears to have failed, almost before it had even begun, a major dam in the Russian-occupied region of Kherson is suddenly bombed, prompting mass evacuations as floods spread across the region.

both sides accuse each other of the attack that puts tens of thousands of homes at risk and might even threaten the safety of Europe's largest nuclear power plant.

However, as Raul Ilargi Meijer writes, twice last year (here and here), Ukrainian officials discussed Kiev's plans to blow up the dam.

Andrew Korybko lays out the real narrative here:

The partial destruction of the Kakhovka Dam on early Tuesday morning saw Kiev and Moscow exchange accusations about who’s to blame, but report from the Washington Post (WaPo) in late December extends credence to the Kremlin’s version of events.

Titled “Inside the Ukrainian counteroffensive that shocked Putin and reshaped the war”, its journalists quoted former commander of November’s Kherson Counteroffensive Major General Andrey Kovalchuk who shockingly admitted to planning this war crime:

“Kovalchuk considered flooding the river. The Ukrainians, he said, even conducted a test strike with a HIMARS launcher on one of the floodgates at the Nova Kakhovka dam, making three holes in the metal to see if the Dnieper’s water could be raised enough to stymie Russian crossings but not flood nearby villages. The test was a success, Kovalchuk said, but the step remained a last resort. He held off.”

Though all mainstream news organisations are running with the sabotage narrative (and of course the "it's the Russians" narrative,) some more considered commentaries are suggesting the dam, already damaged by previous attempts to blow it up, and under unusual levels of pressure since early May when the Ukraine government drained dams further upstream, thus causing water level in Nova Kakhovan to rise above the safe limit.  

from Telegram: https://t.me/rezident_ua/18140 

The dam was simply washed away by water, due to the destroyed spans, which any person with education understands, the resistance of materials has done its job. Moreover, the fact that the hydroelectric dam stood for so long after the HIMARS missile strikes confirms the qualitative approach of Soviet architects. Now in the information war, each side will try to blame each other, but the dam was filmed by cameras 24 by 7 and the explosion would have been filmed instantly, which means it did not exist. 

Sabotage or enthusiastic incompetence? Either way, loss of the dam and the hydro electric power plan it fed is a huge blow to Ukrainian infrastructure although Russia gains nothing from the destruction and will be seriousl inconvenienced by knock on effects as water from the dam supplies most of Crimea's industrial and domestic needs.

Having said that, military experts say the strategic dynamics in the NATO-Russian proxy war in Ukraine still favor Russia. This assessment is based on the observation that Russia’s victory in the Battle of Artyomovsk shows that it’s able to hold its own against NATO in terms of technology and logistics.

Even the New York Times, having steadfastly trumpeted the Ukrainian propaganda line since the war began, has been forced to admit that the West’s sanctions failed to collapse Russia’s economy while endless injections of cash and military hardware from NATO members into the Ukrainian war effort have failed to change the course of the war since Russia's initial strike which Moscow hoped would force Kiev's surrender within days was blocked by unexpectedly fierce Ukrainian resistance. Worse (for the west,) it is impossible to deny the proliferation of multipolar processes in the 15 months since the special operation began. These include German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, former US National Security Council member Fiona Hill, and Goldman Sachs’ President of Global Affairs Jared Cohen.

Apparently these people don't realise that the ship has sailed on getting the Global South to comply with US and NATO diktat. The West’s economic and propaganda campaign failed to coerce the Global South to  support America's sanctions on Russia even among those states that voted in support of hostile resolutions against it at the UN General Assembly. Many of them were arguably inspired by fellow developing country India’s principled neutrality towards the NATO-Russian proxy war, which showed that they can indeed multi-align between the US-led West and the Sino-Russo Entente if they have the political will and diplomatic deftness to do so.

To be sure, most Global South states were already disinclined to support the West due to their resentment over being treated so unfairly by it over the decades, but India proved that it’s possible to defy their pressure without any serious consequences so long as they maintain balance between both sides. India's subsequent refusal to support the Biden administration's New Cold War and Washington's demands demands to unilaterally concede on their objective national interests represented a turning point in global affairs.

Meanwhile water continues to pour through the breached dam and the people of Ukraine, having been chosen for beatification as the sacrifice that would give up its life on the altar of American hegemonic ambitions. 




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