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HomeEuropeKakhovka Collapse: Image Emerges of Apparently Explosive-laden Car at Dam

Kakhovka Collapse: Image Emerges of Apparently Explosive-laden Car at Dam

A photograph of a car apparently laden with explosives parked at the top of Ukraine’s Kakhovka dam shortly before it gave way is said to offer further evidence Russia was behind the incident.

The image, taken by a Ukrainian drone and given to Associated Press, was taken on 28 May. It appears to show a white car with its roof cut open, revealing large barrels inside, one of which appears to have a landmine attached to its lid. A cable runs from the barrel towards the side of the river held by Russian forces.

A Ukrainian special forces communications official told the Associated Press he believed the car was there to stop any Ukrainian advance on the dam and to amplify a planned explosion originating in the machine room.

More than 11,000 people have been evacuated since the dam collapsed on 6 June, flooding land downstream. On Monday the death toll was raised to 52. Russian officials said 35 people had died in the areas of Kherson that were under its control while Ukraine’s interior ministry said they were aware of 17 deaths and 31 people who had gone missing.

The warring countries have traded accusations as to who was responsible for the environmental and human disaster. Ukrainian officials claimed to the Associated Press that Russian troops had set up a firing position in the dam shortly before the blast.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has long claimed that the dam was mined by Russia.

Vladimir Putin told military bloggers in a recent meeting he had no interest in damaging the dam, which flooded territory controlled by Russia. He did concede that Ukraine’s offensive plans may have been impacted by the flooding of the Dnipro River, which Ukrainian forces need to cross to access the parts of Kherson controlled by Moscow.

The image of the white car parked at the top of the dam is just the latest piece in the puzzle, with experts counselling that an authoritative assessment cannot be made until independent engineers are given access.

Last week the international human rights law firm Global Rights Compliance, acting in support of Ukraine’s general prosecutor, said it believed it was “highly likely Russian forces deliberately destroyed the dam”, and that a recently passed Russian law that prohibits investigations into incidents at hydrotechnical structures in Russian-occupied Ukraine offered compelling albeit circumstantial evidence for that case.

Seismic signals from an explosion at the dam were picked up on sensors at 2.35am and 2.54am on 6 June. The size of the explosion is said to discount an external attack as being the cause.

The Institute for the Study of War, a US thinktank that has monitored Russian actions in Ukraine since the war began, has claimed that “the balance of evidence, reasoning, and rhetoric suggests that the Russians deliberately damaged the dam”.

Ukraine’s intelligence service released an intercepted conversation it claimed was between a Russian soldier and someone else in which the soldier said “our sabotage groups were there. They wanted to create a scare with the dam. It didn’t quite go according to plan.”

Source : TheGuardian



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