Both Ukraine and Russia blamed each other for the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam. Photo/Reuters
MOSCOW – The collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine was one of the largest industrial and ecological disasters in Europe in recent decades. The disaster destroyed many villages, flooded farmland, deprived tens of thousands of people of electricity and clean water, and caused severe environmental damage.
It is still not possible to say whether the dam collapsed because it was deliberately targeted or if the breach could have been caused by a structural failure. Dams and hydroelectric power plants are under Russian control and therefore inaccessible to independent investigators.
Some Western officials have blamed Russia for the disaster, either directly accusing Moscow of targeting the dam. They say that Russia is responsible only because it is the aggressor in the war against Ukraine.
United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres described the destruction as yet another devastating consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He added that the UN did not have access to information to independently verify the cause.
A Nato military official told CNN that although it will be a long time before they know for sure who was responsible for the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam in Ukraine, they believe Russia may be behind it.
Why? The official added that Russia would benefit the most from the move, potentially slowing down any anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive, if it occurs in that part of the country.
Moreover, a number of civil engineering experts have suggested that an explosion inside the structure was the most likely cause of the dam’s breach, although that is not the only possible explanation.
Here are the 3 main theories about what caused the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam.
1. Russia Destroys the Nova Kakhovka Dam
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, his government and the country’s military were quick to blame Moscow for the disaster. They say Russian forces blew up the reservoir from the inside, with Zelensky citing a Ukrainian intelligence report last year that claimed occupying forces had mined the dam.
Ukraine pointed out that the facility had been under Russian control for the past year, making it easier for Russian troops to plant explosives.