The collapse of Kakhovka dam (on the Dnieper river in the Kherson region that was recently reincorporated into Russia) and consequent release of a flood tide of water, swamping the area and causing great loss of life and widespread infrastructural damage, is the latest incident to be blamed on Russia by Washington and Kiev, as usual without a shred of evidence.
As with earlier sabotage of the Kerch bridge and the Nord Stream pipeline, the russophobic knee-jerk reaction from the west, blaming Moscow, was subsequently shown to be false, with the real culprits turning out to be Ukrainian terror outfits or Washington itself.
In the case of the bursting dam in Kakhovka, one explanation being put forward is that repeated exposure to incoming shelling from the Ukrainian side weakened the dam’s fabric, incrementally compromising its structure over a period of time. This is the view expressed by Kakhovka’s mayor, Vladimir Leontiev, who explained that the dam’s valves were destroyed.
The Financial Times, rowing in with the prevailing hysteria, has adopted a lofty moral tone, opining: “In a war that has produced countless acts of Russian barbarity, the destruction of the Kakhovka dam is one of the most egregious.” (Editorial: Dam disaster complicates Ukraine’s counteroffensive, 7 June 2023)
It would be interesting to hear from the FT just what it believes to be permissible or not in a war against fascism. What would it make of the famous WW2 destruction of a key dam in the Ruhr valley, inspiring the popular Dam Busters movie? Was this “an egregious act of barbarism” committed by the British RAF? Or was it a necessary sacrifice, striking at the heart of Nazi steel, coal and armament production?
As an article in History Today reminded us: “An estimated 1,600 civilians and prisoners of war, including female slave labourers from Poland, Russia and Ukraine, drowned in the flooding. Even Wing Commander Guy Gibson, the famed leader of the Dambusters immortalised in the movie by matinee idol Richard Todd, later mused how ‘the fact that people … might drown had not occurred to us’, and that ‘no one likes mass slaughter and we did not like being the authors of it’.
“One German civilian, Elizabeth Muller, would later recount how she saw ‘trees, roads, gardens’ all swept away before her eyes, while a Russian PoW named Antonio Ivanovna reported how ‘for two to three months we kept finding bodies – they had become fat and swollen with the water. It was awful.’” (Just how much of a strategic success was the Dambuster raid?, Sky History)
So much for western double-standards over what is and is not permissable in war.
But the fact remains that, as soon as we ask ourselves who benefits from this act, it becomes plain that there was no earthly reason for Russia to bomb infrastructure on its own territory – infrastructure that provides water, power and irrigation to its people – and to destroy the lives and livelihoods of its citizens into the bargain.
Russian defence minister General Sergei Shoigu has confirmed this view and placed the blame squarely on Ukraine, describing the Kiev junta’s reasoning as follows:
“Tonight, the Kiev regime committed another terrorist crime: the Kakhovka hydroelectric station facilities were blown up, flooding a large area. The purpose of these actions is reportedly as follows.
“Having failed to succeed in the offensive operations, the enemy intends to redeploy the units and hardware from Kherson direction to its offensive area in order to strengthen its potential, significantly weakening its position in Kherson direction. The enemy has begun building defensive positions on the right bank of the Dnieper river, which indicates the intention to turn to defence there.
“In order to prevent Russia’s offensive actions in this section of the front, the Kiev regime has carried out a sabotage, essentially a terrorist act, which has resulted in the flooding of significant areas and will have serious and long-lasting environmental consequences.
“In addition, the release of water from the Dnieper hydroelectric station, according to available data, has been significantly increased, leading to even greater flooding of areas.
“This fact [Ukraine sending more water from the dam it controls upsteam to worsen the flood in Kherson] proves that the large-scale diversion was planned in advance by the Kiev regime.” (Russian MoD statement, 6 June 2023)
With the Ukrainian army’s long-touted ‘spring’ offensive finally underway and spectacularly failing – with huge losses on every battlefront – the destruction of the dam, whether it was given a final push by yet another Ukrainian attack or simply succumbed to the build-up of pressure from previous bombing raids, has clear benefits for the imperialists and their proxies.
Indeed, right on cue, media and politicians all over the west are taking advantage of this fresh opportunity to spin Hollywood-esque ‘crazy madman Putin’ stories in their continuing psyop against their own people – and simultaneously to evade discussing what is actually happening on the battlefields.
Presumably the western authors of this crime are also hoping that finding the manpower and resources to aid civilians and repair the damage caused by the flood will weaken the Russian war effort. And perhaps the meting out of a nasty dose of collective punishment to the disobedient citizens of Crimea and Kherson is also providing a little balm to the wounded souls of the soon-to-be-losers in Washington, London and Kiev.