Accusations and counter-accusations have epitomised discussions at the United Nations Security Council on whether Russia or Ukraine was responsible for an explosion on the Kakhovka Dam on the Dnipro River in the Kherson region of Ukraine.
Kyiv earlier called for an emergency session of the Council in response to the alleged act of sabotage.
An alleged explosion unleashed floodwaters across the region in what senior UN officials described as an unfolding catastrophe with tens of thousands already evacuated.
Russia has called on the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres to establish the facts of what happened.
The UN has described the Kakhovka Dam as a lifeline to the region and a critical water source to millions of people on both sides of the frontline – with loss of homes, food, safe water, and livelihoods as a direct result of the alleged sabotage.
UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths says, “The destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam is possibly the most significant incident of damage to civilian infrastructure since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The sheer magnitude of the catastrophe will only become fully realised in the coming days, but it is already clear that it will have grave and far-reaching consequences for thousands of people in southern Ukraine.”
Russia has rejected responsibility, accusing Kyiv, with the support of Western backers, of carrying out what it framed as a terrorist plan to attack the dam while calling for the UN Chief to establish the facts.
Moscow’s envoy Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia says, “To investigate what really happened. For us, it is clear absolutely clear. But I already see a coordinated information campaign in the press and by the Western officials, rather disinformation campaign, saying that Russia did it without even trying to even to think, keep honest, why would we do it? And besides, the Ukrainians were threatening to ruin the dam a long time, including official they were saying it openly to the press.”
Ukraine’s Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said his Russian counterpart was representing a terrorist regime while floundering in a mud of lies.
The Russian statement has therefore been predictably deceitful.
“We have observed the same technique of blaming the victim for your own crimes, and there was little chance that the country, which desperately denied its war crimes in Mariupol, Bucha, Izium, Zaporizhzhia NPP would acknowledge responsibility for today’s technological disaster.”
The United States and other Western nations indicated they didn’t have all the facts as yet to make a determination on responsibility.
United States Alternate Representative, Ambassador Robert A. Wood says, “Let’s not forget the key fact here, and that’s Russia invaded Ukraine. It is occupying the territory, including the dam it controlled. And so that’s the important point here. Russia needs to get its troops out of Ukraine. But I really don’t want to get ahead of the discussion. But again, I emphasize the point that just ask yourselves, I mean, just from a logical standpoint, why on earth would Ukraine do that to the government, Ukraine do that to its people and to that land?”
The SGs’ Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric earlier said there would be discussion in the days ahead on the best way forward and the role the UN Secretariat could play in establishing the facts, emphasising the need for accountability.