Russia War Crimes Diary – Ukraine edition 22

04 iul., 2023

The true fallout of the deadly Kakhovka dam failure in southern Ukraine in early June, which killed at least 21 people and left thousands homeless, is only now beginning to be understood by officials and experts. 

Meanwhile, Ukraine is already bracing for new provocations from Moscow, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warning that Kyiv intelligence has information that Russia is preparing to unleash a terrorist attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The consequences, he said, will be catastrophic.

At a conference in London last week that focussed on rebuilding Ukraine, U.S. politician Howard Baffert said that the world must stop “turning a blind eye” and focus on preventing Ukraine from losing the war.

As the war drags on, journalists and various organizations continue to investigate Russia’s war crimes against Ukraine, to bring to account those responsible.

NYT: Evidence suggests Russia blew up the Kakhovka dam

Journalists at the New York Times spoke to numerous engineers about the dam explosion in southern Ukraine that has led to a major environmental and humanitarian disaster.  As the floodwaters have receded since the dam failure, it is now possible to try to more accurately determine details such as how, and where, the dam was destroyed.

Numerous pieces of evidence reviewed by NYT, such as satellite imagery, seismic activity in Ukraine and neighbouring Romania, as well as infrared heat signals, all point to an explosion, engineers concluded. 

One of the engineers told the NYT that the foundation of the 30-metre-high dam was built to withstand almost any external attack. But since part of the massive concrete dam structure was destroyed, this indicates that explosives were planted inside the dam, which was under Russian control.

Additionally, Moscow had a deep understanding of the dam, which was built during the Soviet Union, including and all of the design drawings. Read more about the investigation, here.

„Bodies are floating”: bleak scenes in flooded Kherson region

Journalists from Important Stories spoke to residents of villages that were flooded as a result of the explosion of the dam Kakhovka dam failure.

People said that the water level was rising so rapidly after the dam breach that they had to scramble to the roofs of their homes, where they waited for rescuers to help them. In the occupied left bank, however, no evacuations were carried out and at Russian checkpoints, people were not allowed to leave unless they had a Russian passport.

„The situation is critical, there are victims. I can only guess how many. So far, it is dozens. Bodies are floating,” a volunteer told reporters. Read more about how people were rescued and what it was like in the flooded villages, here.

Journalists killed by Russians for telling the truth 

Colleagues from have released a film dedicated to the memory of Max Levin and nine other journalists killed covering the war in Ukraine. The journalists’ job, to reveal the truth about Moscow’s war, may have put them top of the lists of the occupiers who were keen to suppress the truth. 

In occupied Ukrainian territories, Russian forces routinely tried to establish their own order, by persuading local Ukrainian leaders to cooperate. While Ukrainians often protested against the installed regimes by attending rallies, the Russians used brutal tactics to disperse people.

“They were openly beating people with truncheons, firing tear gas, putting people in police cars,” said one of the journalists who reported in an area under Russian occupation. 

Oleh Baturin, one of those journalists who was physically abused by Russian forces, described in detail how they planned to kill him.

“I will take a knife and cut off your skin so that you die slowly and bleed to death,” he said while recalling his ordeal. “Then we will cut off your head. We’ll cut off your arms and legs. But first the skin, the fingers.” You can watch the video, here.

Notice served to Russian who killed Ukrainian, dumped victim in sewer 

Ukrainian law enforcement agencies have served a suspicion notice to a Russian citizen who resides in the country’s Republic of Buryatia for the murder of a civilian in Ukraine and violation of internationally agreed-upon laws of war.

During the occupation of the village of Berezivka in the Kyiv region, Vasyl Avdeev was shot and killed in his car, and his body later dumped into the sewer. 

According to the investigation, on March 2, 2022, the Russian military spotted Avdeev’s car and shot at it 21 times without warning. Avdeev’s wife, Tetiana, told journalists at that at the time of the slaying he was delivering food to a low-income family. 

His family told that they identified the killer, who now faces charges that carry a life sentence if convicted, from a photo. “You can’t bring back a father to children and a husband to me,” Tetiana said. “No matter what punishment I come up with, you can’t bring them back…” Read the full story, here.

Debunking and determining Ukraine dam failure 

The OSINT community Molfar analyzed the causes and chronology of the Kakhovka dam failure to try to get a clearer picture of who was responsible for the catastrophic incident.

Since the dam disaster occurred in early June, three popular theories about what happened and who is to blame have been widely circulating online. 

The analysis by Molfar explains in detail why the dam could not have failed through natural erosion. The epicenter of the destruction was around the central part of the dam, they concluded, and therefore if it collapsed simply because of the load from the water mass, the collapse of the dam would have started in the areas near the shore.

The next version, and its condemnation, is that Ukraine was involved. Journalists emphasize that the Ukrainian government warned the world about the plant’s mining as far back as April last year. Kakhovka dam has been occupied by Russians right from the start of the war, they noted.

On the eve of the explosion, too, various statements from Russians were circulating online that the explosion would significantly complicate the Ukrainian offensive. Their detailed analysis can be found, here.

Edited by Stephen McGrath
Photo Credit: Rescue Now 2023

Despre autor: Yana Skoryna

Avatar of Yana Skoryna
Yana Skoryna are o experiență de 10 ani în jurnalismul TV din Ucraina, unde a lucrat de la proiecte de anvergură la emisiuni de divertisment pentru diverse canale TV și a fost, de asemenea, editor pe platou. De când s-a mutat în România, Yana scrie la CONTEXT un jurnal al crimelor de război, documentând atrocitățile comise de ruși în Ucraina. Ea face interviuri și scrie poveștile victimelor pentru ca acestea să nu fie uitate și criminalii să fie pedepsiți într-o bună zi. Yana spune că produsele media de calitate sunt create din detalii.

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