Moscow regime bears responsibility for dam catastrophe – support residents and environment, enforce invader withdrawal

The destruction of the Kakhovka Dam on the Dnieper River in Ukraine has catastrophic consequences for tens of thousands of people, animals, and the environment and will cause significant damage to large parts of southern Ukraine in the medium term. Even though it cannot be said with absolute certainty at this time how the dam breach occurred, whether through a deliberate detonation or negligence, it is clear that the Russian regime bears responsibility for it.

The Russian army gained control of the dam after the violent invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022 and, therefore, bears responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of the dam since then. Since the end of October, shortly before the withdrawal of Russian troops in the Kherson region north of the Dnieper, there have been credible reports that the Russian side had mined the dam. In the night to Tuesday, June 6, around 2:50 a.m., the fateful explosions finally occurred, causing the dam to burst. The reservoir contains 18,000,000,000 cubic meters of water, and since then, the floods have been pouring uncontrollably downstream to the Black Sea, approximately 150 kilometers away. They raise the river level by meters, flood extensive adjacent areas, and cause rising levels in other rivers that flow into the Dnieper.

Approximately 16,000 people live directly in the flood zones and need to be evacuated. However, many of the affected people live on the southern – left – bank, which is still controlled by Russia, and where hardly any evacuation measures are being taken. Furthermore, the Russian side is actively hindering the escape of those affected, even resorting to the use of military force.

In addition to the numerous human lives directly threatened by the floods caused by Russia, and the deaths of thousands of livestock and pets, countless aquatic animals perish due to the outflow of the reservoir. Furthermore, due to the floods below the reservoir, hundreds of tons of fuels, heavy metals, and toxic substances are released into the water, causing extensive damage to water, energy, and transportation infrastructure, as well as thousands of residential buildings being damaged or destroyed. But the consequences extend beyond the surroundings of the Dnieper and the reservoir: the reservoir, with its canal system, provided water to the northern part of the Zaporizhzhia region, the southern reservoir of the city of Kryvyi Rih, almost the entire Kherson region, and the Crimean Peninsula. Large parts of southern Ukraine are at risk of drying up in the coming years. Russia has brought an ecological disaster upon Ukraine. It’s a policy of ‘Après moi, le déluge!´ that the Russian regime is applying here. What the invading troops cannot hold, should not be of use to anyone.

Russian propagandists, military bloggers, and soldiers are cheering the destruction of the dam on social media. There are already threats to detonate dams upstream that are still under Russian control. In Telegram channels of the Wagner mercenary group and on state television, there are even fantasies about detonating the dam located north of Kyiv. It dams the Kyiv Sea, a lake about twice the size of Lake Constance, and could cause massive destruction to Kyiv.

While the fantasies of destruction regarding Kyiv may be difficult to realize because the Russian army had to withdraw from there a year ago, the same does not apply to the dams still in Russian hands. A lot will depend on the international reaction, whether this particularly severe form of war crime remains an isolated case or becomes a repeated terrorist method of Russia.

Therefore, we demand:

  • An independent, international investigation into the causes and consequences of the dam destruction, as proposed by Ukrainian President Zelensky, and a public presentation of the results.
  • International aid organizations must also have unrestricted access to people in Russian-occupied territories to provide prompt assistance.
  • The international community must send a clear signal that further destruction of infrastructure and natural habitats will result in a significant escalation of countermeasures.
  • Above all, it must enable Ukraine to liberate its territories from the invaders.
  • The core demand remains the withdrawal of all Russian units from Ukraine. Only then can the country rebuild its infrastructure, including the Kakhovka Dam, and offer its residents a peaceful and secure development.

Donation Appeal

Due to the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the destroyed Kakhovka Dam, we kindly ask for your donations!

With your donation to our long-standing partner organization VostokSOS Charitable Foundation, you help rescue people with limited mobility and disabilities and bring them to safer areas. Furthermore, these donations will be used to purchase water, food, dry pet food, and accommodation equipment for the residents of the Kherson region. You help the psychosocial support group of VostokSOS provide psychological and legal assistance to the evacuees. Moreover, your donation enables the procurement of inflatable motorboats, fishing boats, and overalls to support the rescuers of the State Emergency Service in their relief efforts.

You can send your donation from any Visa or Mastercard in any currency to one of the following card numbers:
EUR: 5168745021611964
USD: 5168745031323527

PayPal: [email protected]

Bank transfer
Recipient: Сharitable Organisation “Wohltätigkeitsstiftung “Vostok-SOS”
IBAN: UA893005280000026007455028483
The Bank of the Recipient: ОТP BANK JSC, 43 Zhylyanska Str., Kyiv, 01033, Ukraine
Bank Code (MFO): 300528
Number of Reference of the Organisation: 39764400
Bank of Correspondence: Commerzbank AG, Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland, Nr. 400888006401, SWIFT: COBA DE FF
Bank of Correspondence 2: Deutsche Bank AG, Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland, # 10094749740000, SWIFT: DEUT DE FF

Further information about the campaign and the work of VostokSOS can be found on the foundation’s website.

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