Catastrophic Breach of Nova Kakhovka Dam Floods Lower Dnieper, Cuts Crimea Water Supplies; Ukraine Attacks in Bakhmut, South Donetsk [Updated]

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Ukraine and Russia are pointing fingers at each other over the massive breach of the Nova Kakhova dam. Readers likely recall that the fear that Ukraine would blow up the dam led Russia to take the seriously-bad-from-an-optics perspective move of pulling out of Kherson City. Destruction of the dam would flood its low-lying sections and the resulting damage would make the already-difficult task of supplying troops close to impossible.

Note many commentators are jumping to the conclusion that the dam was destroyed (being critically damaged versus destroyed may seem too fine a point, but it can have implications for the severity of flooding). I am trying to get the input of construction/major earthworks expert bob from Syracuse, who provided very detailed commentary on the failure of the Oroville Dam in California.

Nevertheless, a seriously big time flood is underway:

If you look at the water, you can see it is rushing over the center but the dam was not taken out from side to side.

What matters in terms of flood levels is how many feet down the dam has been taken out, which no one not on site can readily guess well, at least now1. How much the water level rises below the dam depends on how low the lowest level of water restriction now is, and whether that gets eroded any further due to the action of the flood.

Also keep in mind the lower Dnieper is marshy, a flood plain near its mouth. So even if the water rise is not as bad as it could have been, it will still damage a lot of terrain.

The New York Times has some intel on flooding (note each snippet as a separate source ffrom the Times’ staff which I omitted to reduce visual clutter):

The local Ukrainian military administration said that water downstream of the dam will reach critical levels in five hours, or around noon local time.

The water level in the Kakhovka Reservoir is dropping at a rate of about 15 centimeters, or 6 inches, per hour, the military administration in Nikopol, a Ukrainian-controlled city on the shore of the reservoir, said in a statement.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Interior said local authorities in 10 towns and villages and in the city of Kherson were told to prepare to evacuate residents. Some low-lying neighborhoods in Kherson city are at risk but not the entire city.

Evacuations have started. From CNN:

In a video statement posted on Telegram, Oleksandr Prokudin, the Ukraine-appointed head of the Kherson region military administration, said the water “will reach critical level in five hours.”…

Prokudin said evacuations in the “area of danger” around the dam had started and asked citizens to “collect your documents and most needed belongings and wait for evacuation buses.”

“I ask you to do everything you can to save your life. Leave the dangerous areas immediately,” he added.

Units of Ukraine’s National Police and the state emergency service of the Kherson region have been put on alert to warn and evacuate civilians from potential flood zones, Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs said.

Also note Twitter is full of the charge that this is a war crime….largely blaming Russia. This is on its face nonsensical. What is damaged is Kherson, territory that Russia says is now its own, even if it controls only part now, and water supplies to Crimea. The flooding is also taking out defensive fortifications and mines planted by Russia.

You don’t salt land in your own territory, and Russia has taken the legal steps under its law laying claim to all of Kherson.

Reuters tries to stand a bit above the fray:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy blamed Russia for the damage.

“The destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam only confirms for the whole world that they must be expelled from every corner of Ukrainian land,” Zelenskiy wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Ukraine’s military said that Russian forces blew up the dam.

Russian-installed officials in Kherson said Ukraine struck the dam at 2300 GMT several times, destroying the hydraulic valves of the hydroelectric power station but said the dam was not totally destroyed.

“We ask all residents of coastal settlements to be ready for evacuation,” the Russian-controlled region said. “Emergency and special services of the region are in full readiness and will provide all necessary assistance.”

The Washington Post is also not assigning blame, perhaps a signal that the US does not want NATO dragged in (a least unless and until Ukraine can provide receipts. Its headline is Ukraine live briefing: Major Ukrainian dam damaged, threatening southern areas with flooding. First para:

A major dam in southern Ukraine has been damaged, allowing large amounts of water to flow out of a reservoir and prompting officials to order residents of surrounding areas to evacuate. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Both Russia and Ukraine have previously accused each other of plotting to destroy the dam, without providing evidence.

Some early confirmation of the Ukraine skeptics’ case:

This act looks like a Ukraine twofer:

1. A statement that if Ukraine has no good prospect of retaking territory now under Russian control, it would rather destroy it than let Russia have it

2. An effort to get NATO to commit troops

There has also been noise about risk to the Zaporzhizhia power plant. Some Twitterati say this is not an issue due to the degree to which the plant has been mothballed:

Ukraine sources seem to agree:

And an update (4:40 AM EDT) from Slavyangrad:

There is no water rise at the Zaporozhye NPP, there is no threat to the safety of the station due to the explosion of the Kakhovskaya HPP dam;

There is no threat of flooding in Crimea due to the destruction of the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station, Aksenov said

There is a risk that the North Crimean Canal will become shallow. Drinking water is more than enough. Work is underway to minimize water losses in the canal, the Governor of Crimea added.

Rybar is more alarmist:

* * *

I am afraid I am giving the promised second half of the post short shrift due to the hour.

We now seem to have a Schrodinger’s counteroffensive, with two major Washington whisperers, the New York Times and The Hill, weirdly reluctant to call whether the famed Ukraine counteroffensive has started. First from the New York Times, in As Ukrainian Attacks Surge, U.S. Officials See Signs of Counteroffensive:

Ukrainian forces have stepped up artillery strikes and ground assaults in a flurry of military activity that American officials suggested on Monday could signal that Kyiv’s long-planned counteroffensive against Russia had begun.

The fighting, which began on Sunday, was raging along several points on the front line, but farther to the east of where many analysts had expected Ukraine’s counteroffensive to launch. Even if it has started in that eastern area, experts said, the battle would allow Kyiv’s troops to try to accomplish the same goal: Head south toward the Sea of Azov and cut off the land bridge connecting occupied Crimea to mainland Russia.

And The Hill in Ukraine’s counteroffensive appears to have started: Here’s what to know:

Ukraine began launching attacks in the eastern Donetsk region over the weekend in what appears to be the first wave of Kyiv’s long-anticipated counteroffensive.

Ukrainian commanders have sent in mechanized brigades, including heavy battle tanks, along with conventional troops to assault several locations in the southern Donetsk region, where Russian troops are entrenched.

Maybe that’s just to keep their options open. If these attacks can be tarted up as meaningful successes, this will later be deemed as the start of that overdue initiative. Otherwise, it will be branded as yet more reco in combat or deception operations.

Dima at Military Summary reported that the Ukraine push in the Vremevka bridgehead resulted in Ukraine capturing a couple of small settlements, with Russia pushing the forces nearly all the way back overnight…at a cost claimed by the Ministry of Defense of 300 Ukrainians and 56 combat vehicles, including 16 tanks. Ouch. Dima also described meaningful Russian gains in Marinka.

By contrast, Rybar is critical of how the Russian regular forces have managed the rotation of forces in Bakhmut, saying that Ukraine forces were able to exploit communication gaps. However, other sources are not citing meaningful Russian setbacks or outsizes losses. By contrast, Dima describes two Ukraine assaults in Bakhmut, one where they created a bridgehead that Prigozhin complained about bitterly, while on his map, Dima outlined one penetration to the north area and deemed it to be an “artillery bag” as in Ukrainians who’d entered were not likely to leave (Dima tends to be excitable, so an underreaction is not in character for him). Dima reported on Ukraine claims of territorial gains by Ukraine further north in Bakhmut and to its south. He discounted the “how much” part but thought it did mean an attempt was made, Ukraine might have taken some terrain, and there were costs on both sides.

Finally, some have rejected the Ministry of Defense claims below, but there were reports earlier of up to 1000 Ukraine casualties a day. If Ukraine has been attacking at more points on the extended front lines and Russia now has much more ammo and men and even better command of the air than before, I don’t see how this can be rejected out of hand:

But yes, we should also wait for further indicators of large losses, like hospitals (again) filling up.

This is so sad and ugly. We are the ones who keep pressing Ukraine to keep throwing itself against a formidable force that still has a lot in reserve. The human and environmental costs to Ukraine will continue to mount. And we stepped in to prevent a peaceful end in April 2022. You could blame Russia for starting the conflict, but its continuation and escalation is all on the West.


1 People on site might have good proxies as to how far down the cement has been obliterated relative to the pre-strike water level, like the speed of the water flow.

The dam looks to have been blown up, but there’s even a dispute as to how. Ukraine is claiming Russia mined it underwater long ago and blew it now.

Some pointed out that the water behind the dam was at record levels and thus could have been deliberate negligence:

CNN did point out at the end of its story:

In November, the dam was damaged in shelling and satellite images from Maxar Technologies obtained by CNN showed water flowing out of three sluice gates at the dam.

But later:

So we have contradictory video evidence.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    Could this have been caused by a series of mines floating downstream or even drones? That last clip might indicate a series of mines as the dam was supposed to have been first breached in the middle of the night and that last explosion was from a late arrival. If an explosion goes off against a dam wall, the water pressure surrounding that mine ensures that more of the explosive effect goes towards the dam wall. That was why the WW2 dam busters were so effective.

    To be nasty about it, I suspect that orders were given in Washington and Brussels that since they are going to lose this territory to Russia eventually, then they will burn the infrastructure down to the ground to make more problems for them afterwards. And the local neo-Nazis thought yeah, that is a good idea that as it only effects those Russkies. I wonder if this will be sent up to the UN Security Council? I did a quick check of Google News articles from the past hour and nearly all of them accuse Moscow of doing this so the narrative is being spun really quick. As if, as if…certain power centers knew that this was going to happen and had made their preparations for the media already.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      To be clear, and I was remiss not mentioning it in the post: the flooding, at least according to press reports, affects Ukraine communities and some military positions, and less so Russian forces and Russian held areas. The damage to Crimea and Russian-held parts of Kherson is not of the “We have to leave to save life and limb” sort but more consequential.

      1. Gordon

        When the Russians were in Kherson some months ago the point was made that the north-west bank of the river downstream of the dam (now Ukrainian held) is by and large a few 10s of meters above the river while the Russian-held south-east side is very low lying. This can be easily checked out on Google Earth.

        So, while a very few riverbank settlements – and only a very small part of Kherson city – on the Ukraine side will be flooded, the situation will be much worse on the Russian side.

        1. juno mas

          The flooding will be greater on the Russian side; mostly small villages, agriculture and a nature preserve. But, depending on how high and long the inundation lasts, precludes an easy attack path for Ukraine military. They will now have to move their “offensive” northward, and the Russians know it.

          Creating environmental destruction as a war goal is more than just “ugly”, as noted by Yves.

        2. Skip Intro

          In the past month islands across from Kherson were reportedly captured by small AFU incursions.

      2. John Zelnicker

        Yves – Late night update:

        Simplicius has a post up tonight going over the whole event. It appears that the consequences for Russia are more damaging than those to the Ukrainians. YMMV.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > nearly all of them accuse Moscow of doing this so the narrative is being spun really quick. As if, as if…certain power centers knew that this was going to happen and had made their preparations for the media already.

      One can only wonder what the US and Ukraine have teed up as a “response.” “This aggression will not stand, etc., etc.”

        1. Irrational

          And the one and only Annalena: There can be only one party responsible for this destruction (Frankfurther Allgemeine, article behind paywall). Funny how certain they all are.

      1. Floater

        Kinda like the pool drainer at Mar-A-Lardass flooding the “servers” room 😂 your speculation here is on par with “that was just an accident “

    3. BeliTsari

      Kinda makes one worry about those humongous reactors; since they were the other obvious targets remaining, as “blame the victim” red flags cascade at that point, where distraction trumps action? I wonder where all the refugees will end up as DNC slumlord super-delegates, this time? Brighton Beach or Fair Lawn? LNG tankers, next?

    4. Lex

      Since this is on top, the last video isn’t new. It was during Ukrainian HIMARs shelling of the dam during the Russian withdrawal in November 2022.

      1. Jay Ess

        Agreed, the last video was posted last year in various places, it’s now being promoted by some sources as being video of the recent explosion.

    5. Tom Stone

      Of course the Russkies did this, Russians are like that!
      Haven’t you ever heard of Russian Roulette?

      That’s the narrative and given that most Americans have critical thinking skills on a par with my smartphone’s auto complete…

    1. John Tipre

      “Desperation” was first word which came to my mind as well. Vicious, monstrous, and desperate.

  2. CarlH

    I have the same sinking feeling that I had after learning of the Nordstream bombing. This is tragic and highly disturbing news. Thank you for the quick report Yves.

  3. JohnA

    What is mindboggling that the EU can even claim it is a war crime by Russia with a straight face. Everyone knows Zelensky and his colleagues lie about everything. But Russia did it! Really?

    1. marcel

      Almost a year later, we still don’t know who blew up the Nordstream pipelines.
      Rafael Grossi, while onsite, was not able to see who shelled the Zaporizhzhia NPP.
      But 10 minutes after the incident, the whole Nato knows that Russia blew up the dam.

    1. Rod

      Crimea relies on that Canal.
      You pegged it.
      Thanks Yves for your work getting the Post together so promptly.

  4. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    Not unrelated to the war, but closer to home, yesterday evening, my government official mum reported a sudden influx of Ukrainian children, largely unaccompanied, in Buckinghamshire.

    As she’s not in Whitehall this month, she called to find out what’s going as emergency funding, social services support and due diligence on hosts will have to be organised. Mum played dumb and asked why, especially as the MSM has reported Ukrainian advances, the BBC has reported Ukrainians returning home and (for good measure) Max Boot has reported life is back to normal in Kiev, which mum pronounces as Kiev (hoping to provoke a reaction, but none was forthcoming).

    The response: The war is not going anything like as portrayed, certainly not in Ukraine’s favour. As there aren’t enough UK government officials to work on such matters, the Refugee Council has been mandated to organise the migration from Ukraine and resettlement. Using the NGO allows the government to avoid adverse publicity, public backlash and to mask the true cost of this support. Much, if not most, of the UK aid budget is spent in the UK and largely on Ukraine related matters. The refugees will be here for about three years. Mum queried why three years and no other time frame. No answer as to why three years and from whom. A big hint that the 150k plus Ukrainians are unlikely to return home. If they do, they may join family in Mitteleuropa. Another reason for the sudden influx is the official desire to avoid the backlash, albeit not reported in the MSM, when Ukrainian children were given places at preferred schools at the last minute before school resumed in September last year. The plan is to allocate schools near where the children are settled and withdraw places already allocated to local pupils this month. The refugees can also be provided with language classes, extra curricular activities and training over the summer, so they can integrate.

    Most of the children are on their own. Sometimes, a mother has come, too. If a father has arrived, the father is often not a Ukrainian national.

    The refugees are being settled in the better off areas of the south of England, often smaller communities, not big towns and cities.

    Due diligence on foster carers, hosts etc can take weeks, sometimes months, but, for the new arrivals, the process is being expedited over a week or so. The relevant bodies have been put on notice to prioritise such queries.

    The differences in attitudes and approaches have not been lost on officials and others of immigrant background. They keep quiet. Officials are encouraged to wear Ukraine and id pol wrist bands, but nothing showing solidarity with, say, Palestinians.

    This week, the Rev Kev and Vao and I have exchanged comments about the above.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thank you, Colonel. From your description this is sounding very much like an Operation Pied Piper redux – the infamous WW2 evacuation of British children out of the cities/war zones and out to the country areas. I hope that arrangements are being made to keep a careful watch on those children as the abuses possible are considerable. I would be keeping an eye on the adoption industry as well with perhaps those children being told that their parents are dead, whether true or not, and that they are to be adopted-

    2. JohnA

      Hi Colonel,
      And how is this different from the relocation of Ukrainian children to Russia for their own safety, for which the ICC has issued an arrest warrant against Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova as alleged war criminals?

      Or is this another example of the rules based international order of which the west is so proud?

    3. Louis Fyne

      —-. If a father has arrived, the father is often not a Ukrainian national….—-

      Lemme guess, dad is a Russian or Belarus national. (not assuming nefarious intent. If there was extended family within the EU, presumably the kid would be with the extended family).

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Louis.

        I have not heard from Russia and Belarus, but have from Turkiye and the Middle East .

    4. Stephen

      Thanks for this, Colonel.

      I seem to recall that evacuating children from the war zone is the “war crime” that Putin and the Russian official responsible for child welfare (or similar role) are both alleged to have committed.

      Obviously, this is “different”.

      From what you say, it seems that the “authorities” here do at least realise that practical public support for Ukraine may not be what it was. Of course, in our oligarchical world they do not care about that either but just carry on.

    5. vao

      Due diligence on foster carers, hosts etc can take weeks, sometimes months, but, for the new arrivals, the process is being expedited over a week or so.

      During the initial wave of refugees from Ukraine, a large number of British households volunteered as hosts. At the end of last year, there was quite some backlash when many of those hosts, apart from cultural differences with their Ukrainian guests, realized that the promised support from the UK government — financial compensation for hosts, providing a final accommodation for the Ukrainians, etc — was not forthcoming or was very much delayed. I wonder whether everything will be better organized this time.

    6. Irrational

      Thank you, Colonel. Very cute on the aid budget. Maybe that way they can get to 1% of GDP.

  5. Bill Malcolm

    If you look at the last video in this post, the water from the sluices is flowing to the left prior to the explosion. Subsequent explosions after the main bang are shown in the distance to the left-upper of the frame. Floating mines would approach from the right, and I suppose could be in the sluice water. If they were floating. That situation, if it was that, is totally unlike the Dam Busters. Those skipping bombs were given a rotation so that when they hit the dam wall, they rolled downwards underwater before exploding — that’s where hydraulic pressure from the underwater explosion can fully act on the dam structure. This doesn’t look like that at all.

    The later explosions on the video are above water, so not mines. Missiles from Ukraine seems far more likely, but not certain. And I also think they got a lucky hit at a weak point. The Ukrainians were popping off HIMARS for weeks at the dam months ago and getting nowhere. An Adler has a bigger warhead and longer range, for example.

    Of one thing we can be sure. Like Nordstream, NATO / Ukraine did it. It’s beyond comprehension that Russia would shoot itself in the foot twice including this dam breach. Nevertheless, the lapdog Western press, the criminal White House Gang of neocons, the British and European countries will insist we believe in utter nonsense.

    The Simplicius theory I agree with is that now the river upstream is rushing in to what remains of the reservoir, loose mines carried along are likely hitting the “beach” to the sides of the dam and exploding.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I have to tell you I am more than a little troubled to see Simplicius have a VERY long post with tons it images in it that went live at 11 PM EDT, when most people on Telegram and Twitter had barely just heard of the dam breach and were debating if it was real. Just the production would have taken a lot of time…too much relative to when the news broke for this to have been done in real time. Lambert, who is far faster a typist and HTML jockey than I am, said based on text length and # of images, it would have taken on the order of 16 hours to research, write, and format. Mind you, Simplicius also insists he is a solo operator, which I have never found credible.

      From Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy:

      In Lacon’s file it was entered simply as Report No. 1, under the title “Naval.” For months the Admiralty had been screaming at the Circus for anything relating to this exercise. It therefore had an impressive topicality, which at once, in Smiley’s eyes, made it suspect.

      1. DannyD

        You should probably read the Simplicius post yourself first, because the analysis on number of photos and length of text is flawed.
        Most of the article is third party text and images from Telegram channels, with only a few comments from Simplicius. It really doesn’t look like it took 16 hours to write, it was probably assembled in 3-4 hours.
        The data about the dam was at first only a few tweets (much like this article) which was added at the beginning, and is not mentioned later in the article.
        Simplicius may still be a group of people, but this article is not proof. His second blog on substack and the channels on bitchute are probably run by other people though.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I did read the article and chose not to rely on it.

          And as to four hours, I suggest you have a go and get back to me. People who do not write or do production, or vet information, grossly underestimate how long it takes.

          And even if it did take “only” four hours, which I guarantee it did not…how was he four hours ahead of every other person in the Telegram, Twitter and MSM world????

          Merely finding and reviewing the graphics and videos (you do have to listen to at least some) is a couple of hours, then you have to do the production related to them even before the main text

          I was bothered by him headlining that the dam was destroyed as opposed to damages and at risk of failure.

          I am much more bothered by the impossibility of producing such a long piece when the story had just broken. When I went to Rybar and Slavyangrad after his post went live, there was only one entry on one and 2 on the other. Just finding and inserting images takes time. FFS.

          So how did he have the lead time to blast out a very long, typo-free piece when others on the Ukraine War beat (and on European time) were still trying to get their arms around it? This is not just a matter of staffing. Reviewing and integrating other’s work takes time and may not result in time saving, just better quality.

          Here is Lambert’s quick take, and he types and does all the media stuff vastly faster than I do:

          Assuming this is the one

          Simplicius post 5622 words / media 13

          My NIH post 2667 / media 3

          4 hours to write, at least double for research = 8 hours

          NYC WW post 1912 / media 10 hours

          4 hours to write, double for research = 8 hours

          5622 / 2667 = 2 so Simplicius should have taken 16 hours to write his.

          His approach is not comparable to mine in some ways: he uses a lot of videos, although I assume watching them figures as part of research. He combines a lot of photos into a single strip of photos, but that is probably quick. He also has a habit of quoting sources using screen shots, as opposed to copying the text, as I do. That makes his media count a little higher, and it might be a little faster, too.

          I also don’t know his workflow. Mine is collect sources, make an outline placing the sources with initial prose, order the outline, complete the prose, copy edit (as opposed to diving in at the beginning). I do that because I think it’s fastest for me but perhaps he has a different approach. As I understand it, he is really not doing original research, just trawling the news flow, so his research time could be less. I’m not sure though, because those videos need to be assessed.

          That said, I think all other things being equal, word count is a good measure, and his is at least twice mine.

          1. DannyD

            I think the issue with his article is that he doesn’t clearly label the updates and edits he (they?) makes on the text. It makes it look like the entire text is part of the original article, and not added later.
            I happened to read his post soon after it was live, and it only had two tweets with the “Breaking News” headline and the original article below (after the Now back to the regular programming… part).
            So although the original article was published soon after the event, the first third of it was added later. You can see the timing of the media he embeds.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              No, I call bullshit. I have a complete e-mailed version in my inbox as of 11:03 PM EDT. He may have tweaked it but the version he sent out then was hugely long and full of images, clearly the product of many many hours of work. Admittedly he points out much of that was his in-progress sitrep, but he also had to finish that to get it out with his breaking news account.

              In my version, he had two tweets, two videos, and two images in the opening section. Tweets are easy to insert but you still have to read a bunch to decide which if any to use. He had to review the videos. Finding and inserting the images were probably the most work in that part.

              It took me >3 hours to get the first version up, when facts were becoming much more clear (as in less need for research), with less text and much more reliance on tweets (way easier from a production standpoint than also culling images and reviewing videos, which is a work flow in addition to reviewing and harvesting tweets).

              Again, what bothers me is his definitiveness in declaring the dam as “completely destroyed” in his headline when facts were in flux. It was in fact visually only partly destroyed and not at all clear how far below the water line the damage was and how severely the flow of water would further harm the dam.

              1. DannyD

                I agree with you, I’ve been reading him for awhile and Simplicius is probably multiple people, or at least he has someone else do the research for him.
                The style between his other blog (Dark Futura?) and the main blog is also completely different, and the other person seems to be a lot older and a better native English speaker.
                But in this case I think you are twisting the facts a bit. The original article with a lot of research and embedded posts has nothing to do with the dam, and was a daily military sitrep. The data about the dam was added last minute, and had a few tweets and posts (as you mention) with a Breaking News title.
                So they were writing a completely different article, and tacked the dam info in the beginning. After this they kept expanding this section with updates until it grew into almost half the article, and removed the Updated in the title. Probably it should have been separated into a new post.
                I think you saw the first part with the embedded tweets/media and assumed the rest of the article was about the event and didn’t finish it.
                And yes, nobody would argue that Simplicius is very pro Russia.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  The part I discussed in the post immediately above was his opening section about the dam solely and I compared it to normal production times.

                  What bothers me here, and what made me suspicious of him early on is that he appears to be being fed information directly from an insider or insiders and isn’t transparent about it.

                  He did a post on Western ISR in Bakhmut (saying how terrific it was) that was clearly planted. So I do not like getting information from someone who may be handed special info (here early info) with the intent of slanting the coverage (here him being “Whocouldanode” re the source of the destruction).

                  Alexander Mercouris, by contrast, goes to great lengths to thank sources who send him information privately that he uses, and says as much as he can about their background without giving so much away that they can be identified. And he has a source he has identified as insider-y, someone very close to Wagner who has fed him a lot of detail as to how it works.

                  As for the later parts, an additional quibble re timing: if he had not posted it, the assumption is it was not 100% ready. You would have seen an earlier piece, a battlefield sitrep, and shortly after that, the breaking news piece. The likelihood is the dam breach story came just as he was finalizing his other piece, which implies he ALSO had to put finishing touches on that. You can assume 10 minutes as a bare minimum. The interruption of his production process alone would have resulted in a time cost on what had been intended to be his stand-alone sitrep post.

          2. JW

            When his first report came out it was a shortish opener to a general report about the counter-offensive. I first saw an article on the dam by b at MoA hours before the Simplicius piece. Perhaps its a case of the time difference over the pond?

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Sorry, you have the timetable wrong.

              I subscribe to Simplicius. His breaking news e-mail hit my inbox at 11:03 PM EDT. And what I got was not a “shortish opener” but 5328 words.

              That was when Telegram and Twitter folk were debating if this were real because the Kherson mayor initially said everything was normal and images had not (much) circulated.

              Moon’s first post (not his later update) was a full five and a half hours later, 8:24 AM UTC which is 4:24 AM

              1. Tom Stone

                I also subscribe to Simplicitus and I recieved the same E Mail at the same time as Yves.

              2. JW

                Can’t argue with when you saw the Simplicius email, I think it was 5am CET when I received it. However I read b on the same subject before midnight CET.
                The first Simplicius mail was long but the vast majority of it was about the counter-offensive, just the first part was a report on the dam. It seemed to me to be a hurried job put together to get it out at the same time as the prior written piece.
                I have no skin in this, I read you, b, simplicius and listen to Mercouris to balance the MSM psyop.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  My issue (and it’s not coming through clearly with the need to focus on production timelines to substantiate the point) is the speed and detail even in his “Breaking News” section of his 11:03 PM EDT post is not conceivable relative to the available info (there was a huge amount of uncertainty when his post went live…why and how could he be so certain without a lot of information filtering or special sources) and production times.

                  That suggests he has inside sources that are giving him early intel. No different than gov’t officials doing that with reporters they cultivate.

                  What tipped me off on that suspicion was a post he did a while back on US ISR, using Bahkhmut as a long case study. This was CLEARLY a planted piece. If he has contacts who will do that in such an obvious manner once, why should we not expect to see variants of that sort of thing again?

                  1. Brunches with Cats

                    Yves, I was background processing your suspicion about Simplicius all afternoon and evening, along with a vague feeling of my own that something was “off” about this story. That the White House was waiting to assign blame pending more info struck me as ludicrous. My cynical self chalked it up to learning from the Nordstream fiasco that blaming Russia and then having to backpedal with an outlandish tale near-universally ridiculed actually fed suspicions. So this time, they had to devise a story upfront and then sit on it for a few days to give the appearance of having done due diligence.

                    Well, apparently I wasn’t cynical enough. About an hour ago, before packing off to bed, I turned on PBS to see if there was more footage. They led with the dam break and had Michael Kofman on as their guest “expert.” Amna Nawaz asked him upfront who he thought was responsible. Of COURSE it was the Russians; even if they didn’t bomb it and the breach was caused by high water combined with previous damage, it was still the Russians’ fault, because it was they who caused the damage while retreating from Kherson last fall.

                    If this indeed turns out to be the unfolding narrative, that and your disquiet about Simplicious suggests to me that it wasn’t just Zelensky flying off the handle and his sponsors’ needing to cover for him, but another preplanned strike orchestrated by Washington.

      2. ZenBean

        Now back to the regular programming I was in the middle of writing when the above story broke.

        The part of his post dealing with the dam isn’t actually that long.

      3. Lex

        I saw the first rumors on TG start at about 8:00 pm EDT. My TG sources were all second-hand “forwarding”. I didn’t dig because it was only a few and most of them were pointing back towards Ukrainian channels, some of which are well-established information war outlets. How much earlier than when I saw it the rumor started circulating, I don’t know. (I haven’t read the Simplicius post on the dam or even looked at it.)

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I poked around when the Simplicius e-mail arrived and there was a HUGE contrast between his detail and certainty and assembly of images v. what was quickly findable on the innertubes. And inserting images the way he did is more time consuming than my dumping in tweets. He had to make sense of the noise, assemble images, and compose text when all you saw then on Rybar and Slavyangrad, for instance, were a couple of thin entries.

          1. Lex

            Yeah, the early stuff I saw was very much “grain of salt” and at least in my TG feed there was very little. Essentially none that I would call reliable based on who/how many channels reported it when I went to bed at 11 EDT. I saw one video of a car driving in a dark, partially flooded road; a few rumors; and the local authorities saying it wasn’t true by that time. I went to bed figuring I’d know in the morning whether it was real or not.

            And the number of TG rumors I see these days vs how many turn out to be true has tilted such that I was almost surprised this one turned out to be true.

          2. Greg

            I had been trawling for a couple of hours ahead of that Simplicius email, and I’d already seen most of what he included in telegram at slavyangrad and intel slava z, and twitter for big serge, dr snekotron, armchair warlord, and a few others.
            The speed suggests multiple people, but I dont think preprepared material was necessary. Fast aggregation with a little conjecture between the pastes would do it. Plenty of errors in the text as well, it wasn’t one of their better efforts.

            A bunch more of his post was recycled from the drama back when the HIMARS strike on the roadway/gate occurred last year and Russia pulled out of one bank.

            Which, incidentally, is what the last embedded video above shows. this is October HIMARS hit, later repaired perhaps badly.

            Interesting because its clearly the same gate that initially failed this time. Also interesting because we haven’t yet seen any CCTV from that camera of the start of the flood yesterday.

            My current position is that probably neither side started this, because we have no evidence of a strike, the outcome is pros and cons for both and no clear advantage. The only evidence that it was actively started is the suspicious timing to coincide with Ukraine’s offensive.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              I worked on teams at McKinsey and also have a lot of friends in small firm consulting.

              It’s like software. More people does not often mean faster, it regularly means slower because they trip over each other. What it usually does mean is better end product.

              And perhaps more germane, Alexander Mercouris also though Simplicius was producing an overwhelming amount of material given its detail and thought he likely had staff or collaborators. Mercouris asked him (I am sure very politely) and Simplicius told Mercouris, per Mercouris, that he is the only one doing the posts in his name.

              I looked IMMEDIATELY at the usual suspects when the Simplicius e-mail when it hit my inbox and I must disagree with your take. For instance, the only thing Rybar had up then was the Kherson mayor super minimization statement. That is why the state of debate on Twitter was confused as of then and was only as of then starting to agree that the dam really had been massively damaged because vids and images of the water pouring over it had only just started circulating.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Sorry to disagree but I seriously doubt that it was missiles simply because in that second last video; there was simply the underwater explosion and no sound of anything incoming like a missile or artillery fire. No whistling or anything at all but just a silence followed by a whumphh. And that explosion certainly looked like the actual impact point was underwater with that geyser of water kinda resembling something like what you see from a depth charge. Dima just dropped a video that mentions this attack by the way and mentions that the canal that has water going to the Crimea is just to the east of that dam so perhaps the water supply to there may be unaffected.

      1. dandyandy

        Just an observation: The “Dmirti Alperovitch” (second last) video shows an “explosion” clearly on a earth-bank portion of the dam. Dam width there is 30-40 meters. The damage occured in the central sluiced part which is 6-7-8 meter wide overall.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Good observation but which also reinforces the idea that it might have been an attack by multiple mines and/or drones with this one late to the party. Since, as you pointed out, it hit the earthen bank I am going with floating mines.

        2. redleg

          As a former artillery officer and a practicing engineering geologist, artillery or rocket damage, including HIMARS or MLRS, is not capable of damaging a dam to the point of failure. A sluice gate or three might get demolished, as it appears on some of the images, but that won’t cause the dam to fail. It will draw down the reservoir and cause some flooding.
          The drone video showing what appears to be water flowing through the center of the structure looks to be complete failure- the hydraulic jump from fast laminar flow to slow turbulent flow is well past the structure which, to my eye, appears to indicate the breach extends deep through the core of the dam. Someone with better hydraulics expertise than I have should critique my observation, but erosion evaluation is a thing that I do professionally so I’m confident that I’m at least in the ballpark
          That aside, most dam failures occur at the edges or from below. All of the available images effectively rule out an undercutting failure mode- i.e. the dam would fall into a hole, and that’s not what any of the images suggest happened.
          It takes a large, concentrated, focused force to cause a dam to fail in the middle. No amount of 50kg 155mm artillery shells could do it. MLRS systems with a max. 250kg warhead can’t do it either. Whatever breached the middle had to either penetrate the structure (bunker buster bomb or equivalent), or deliver a large underwater shock (submersible drone w/ 500+kg shaped charge?).
          My $0.02.

  6. dandyandy

    In the meantime, the propaganda war is continuing relentlessly. If one googles “kakhovka dam damage”or any similar term, at 9:45 UK time, 6th June, the top 15 entries are from the usual western MSM brainwashers, all heading the news with “Russia destroys dam, Ukraine claims”. Factuality only n’est pas? What is sad that if one runs the same search on DuckDuckGo, top 15 results are the same.

  7. skippy

    This whole drama spanning decades, for brevity, smacks of desperation from the side that has push the cart for so long e.g. we won and now can’t live/move forward if not in total control.

    All the social ills and yet the amount of money spent on military et al expenditure to keep the consumer safe[scale matters] yet here we are where anything goes if it hits the news wire for one more bump to keep the high going and next morning does not matter. Meanwhile Russia and China just keep plugging along regardless of the gnashing of teeth and heads on fire from others.

    What happens when the unwashed at home, get the sad news,. they at home are not victorious and just like everyone else on the orb.

    All this leading into the next election cycle – wowzers ….

    1. skippy

      Just had a look and the center is all gone and significant damage to the right side = stick a fork in it.

  8. Bill Malcolm

    The video that was the last in the post when I read it an hour ago has disappeared! Why? It was the best one, looking like footage from a security camera at the left side of the dam as the river flows. Now my post, still in moderation, makes no sense. What’s up?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The last two tweets were duplicates. I took a dupe out and replaced it with the one that was supposed to be in the final position. Please look again.

      As for moderation, you can hardly expect comments to be freed quickly in the middle of the night.

  9. dandyandy

    Looking at the video posted on BBC website, it seems that the body of water going over the damaged dam is limited to the upper 10 meters of the dam. Dam is about 30m high at its highest. The water on the downstream side seems only about 6-7 meters lower than reservoir side. This is to be expected; once the initial gush is relaxed, and water allowed to escape into the countryside downstream, this will settle a little lower still.

    An interesting factoid; there were CCTV shots available when this dam was bombed last November, but none exist for the latest explosion, which is said to have happened in the middle of last night.

    An interesting factiod #2; all the thought-supressing MSM outlets refer to the dam as being “blown”. Given that MSM scripts are prepared for them “by others”, the choice of words is telling.

    If I was a betting man I would wager that the demolition techniques perfected last September at NS1/NS2 were utilised here as well. It may be feasible that an electrically powered, silent, remotely controlled underwater delivery vehicle was launched a few kilometers upstream in the reservoir and then delievered a quantity of c4 and stacked it against the dam at say 8-10 meters’ depth and then detonated at time to suit, using the same sonar that was used in NS1/2. A few tonnes of the stuff could have opened the initial gap. Two or three trips’ worth at most. Hardware, software, skillset and will is already there and confirmed as working.

    1. Greg

      This seems to be what Shoigu is suggesting as well.

      Not for my part suggesting that makes it more likely to be true, just that it is what the Russians are saying. I haven’t yet seen a Ukrainian theory of the “how” the dam was busted by the Russians, other than “poor maintenance leading to failure”.

  10. ambrit

    It does depend on how low the water level inside the dam impoundment falls. That lake supplied water for a lot of agricultural irrigation. Yet another “crop failure” entering an already low crop yield year, world wide.
    The six reactors at Zap might be ‘down,’ but the spent fuel rods will still need fresh water supplies to replace the water that the fuel rods heat up and cause to evaporate.
    It looks like neither side will be making moves across the lower Dnieper River any time soon. Odessa will have to be invested by sea.

  11. R.S.

    Re: The Washington Post is also not assigning blame…

    The same WaPo, back in Dec.2022
    …Maj. Gen. Andriy Kovalchuk, who was tasked with leading the Kherson counteroffensive…

    Kovalchuk considered flooding the river. The Ukrainians, he said, even conducted a test strike with a HIMARS launcher on one of the floodgates at the Nova Kakhovka dam, making three holes in the metal to see if the Dnieper’s water could be raised enough to stymie Russian crossings but not flood nearby villages.

    The test was a success, Kovalchuk said, but the step remained a last resort. He held off.

    1. Pat

      It was just a test, yeah. Reading that I feel like Ukraine and their supporters in the West have lost any tether to reality. That’s like playing a giant game of Jenga but with running water, only they forget the powerful erosion qualities of that water. Even if it worked, they didn’t know it would. And if they were willing to risk it being more destructive do you really think they considered what would happen with those holes over time.

      Not once in this have the Russians shown even a pinch of that level of recklessness regarding their actions. It may not have been pretty, but the destruction has been minimal and their approach has been measured and considered.

      Drones, mines, or the unlikely missiles or just inadvertent destruction from experiments of how to weaponize it…there is nothing to say but thanks Ukraine military brain trust.

      1. R.S.

        An excellent point. We don’t even know if it was “just” three hits back then. Or thirteen? or maybe even thirty? It’s spring time, water buildup from melting snow and all that. Maybe the thing has just decided it’s had enough.

  12. Koldmilk

    In his latest post, “The Ukrainian Army is run not by the Generals but by the PR Department”, Gilbert Doctorow comments that the damage to the dam, if a deliberate attack and not the result of previous damaged structures now failing, is to distract from the failures of the current Ukrainian counter-offensive.

    And what are the practical consequences of a military campaign run by the PR Department? The answer is the shocking loss of Ukrainian men at arms.

  13. Alexey

    TG channel Kotsnews mentions this Washington Post piece from past December:
    ‘Kovalchuk considered flooding the river. The Ukrainians, he said, even conducted a test strike with a HIMARS launcher on one of the floodgates at the Nova Kakhovka dam, making three holes in the metal to see if the Dnieper’s water could be raised enough to stymie Russian crossings but not flood nearby villages.

    The test was a success, Kovalchuk said, but the step remained a last resort. He held off.’

  14. ChrisFromGA

    What a wonderful opportunity for Black Rock to finance the “rebuilding” of the dam, sometime in 2040 … but seriously, won’t the loss of hydroelectric power from the dam have implications beyond Kherson?

    Seems that this was not only a spiteful act by Ukraine, but a stupid one.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Tough luck for Black Rock that that dam lies in what is now a Russian Oblast so they will not get a chance to get their greasy mitts on this project and make out like bandits.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        You underestimate how deep the Bezzle is with this one … will a silly thing like jurisdiction stop them from selling some sort of financial trick-witchery to investors, like “dam construction futures?”

  15. Yves Smith Post author

    Various updates in today’s Links:

    Michael Tracey tweets on how WaPo and NYT separately reported on Ukraine dry runs of dam attacks

    TASS reports dam is catastrophically failing due to water flow

    One Twitter source point to images of the dam from a few days back showing serious structural damage to the dam, arguing that raised questions about the explosions today

    1. JW

      Apparently the road access on top of the dam failed on 2 June. Maybe someone thought it a good idea to help it on its way.

    2. chris

      Yves, as an engineer who has looked at a lot of large failed structures it occurs to me this may be a case of “both/and”. The dam may have been well on its way to failing before due to any number of reasons, not least of which various trial attacks by Ukrainians or additional pressure from Ukraine keeping water levels high behind the dam. And then it may also have suffered a new attack from any of the sources being speculated in the discussion here.

      But it stretches credulity to assume the Russians would do it. If for no other reason, the sudden presence of all that water flowing over the mined areas means the mines will likely be displaced from their positions, they likely won’t wash away completely because mines are heavy enough to settle into the ground, which means Russia now has the unenviable task of mapping out and recovering the unexploded mines when all this is over. I wouldn’t argue if someone said that the Russians hadn’t maintained the dam as required either. It’s difficult to inspect those well in non-wartime conditions. I can’t imagine being inside something like penstocks when artillery is falling outside.

      Based on the images coming out, I think it’s plausible this was an attack of opportunity. However it was done by whoever, they could have wanted to do it for some time but then waited until the structure was already failing for maximum effect.

      1. square coats

        Re: both/and (and apologies if someone has mentioned this farther down in comments already)

        I saw Big Serge mention on twitter that he’d seen mentions/reports (not sure where) that Ukraine was releasing more water further up the river to exacerbate the already exceedingly high water levels being observed prior to the breach. So if that was indeed the case, it would clearly place the blame on Ukraine even in the absence of any mine/missile damage.

        But I also saw Big Serge’s comment while looking at the twitters prior to Yves’ update of this post, and haven’t looked at much yet today besides Yves’ update and above comments, so it’s quite possible this piece of info might be sorely out of date by now. However, if not then it might be worthwhile for someone with a better grasp of this situation than myself to look into it…

  16. JW

    A lot of talk about the flood waters damaging the mine field and trenches of the Russians on the east bank.
    As they can’t be totally thick , surely they located these to the east of any flood plain as they knew for months that the dam was damaged and floating mines were always a risk.
    When the waters subside and the Ukrainian forces cross the river they will be on a flat very muddy plain with no natural cover, they will be sitting ducks for air intervention. but they won’t be able to resist the attack, just in case they can break through to plough on to Crimea. A trap.

  17. Chas

    Thank you for this news reporting and congratulations Naked Capitalism for providing coverage of this event that is vastly outperforming corporate media. How did you pull this off? It took a good deal of work. You must have called in your strategic reserves for front line duty. IMHO, Naked Capitalism is now providing the best journalism in the USA. Eat your hearts out New York Times and Washington Post, if you even care.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Twitter is a big help in fast sorting the wheat from the chaff, and I looked at a couple of the reliable Telegram sites.

  18. Lex

    I haven’t read all the comments but the last video is from November 2022 during the Russian withdrawal.

  19. jefemt

    I note with growing dispassion and little surprise that the doomsday clock arms were moved forward. Uncharted territory on the clock face, apparently.

  20. The Rev Kev

    I don’t suppose anybody saw a video clip of a truck driving over that dam at the time of the explosion, have they? :)

  21. Lex

    There’s still potential that previous damage caused an unintentional failure of the dam. However, there are reports that dams upstream released large quantities of water the day of the failure (failure was at night, local time).

    The questions that an unintentional failure raise though are germane, like why Ukrainian channels were the first to report it and how immediately the Ukrainian statements were about Russia destroying the dam? Last night the local Russian authorities were claiming that the dam was not failing in response to the TG rumors.

    Another interesting piece of evidence is that Ukrainian forces did not leave the grey zone islands before the breech. As of this morning (local time) they were trying to get back to the right bank. Granted, there weren’t terribly many of them. There are reliable reports of Russian positions in the area being underwater.

    1. Greg

      The release of more water upstream could be capitalising on the chaos, rather than part of a planned action.

      Similarly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Russian VDV do some sort of heliborne raid into the other bank at Kherson in order to stop too many Ukrainian troops being pulled out to the Zapo front.

  22. john

    Ukraine needs immediately to ditch the NATO nonsense (why would an agricultural society need a military alliance), get rid of Zelensky, request an immediate ceasefire with its slavic brothers and sisters in Russia and save whats left.

    1. digi_owl

      Getting rid of Zelensky would likely change nothing, as right now he is on what seems like an eternal speaking tour while others are running the actual ground war.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I disagree. The trumped up actor bit is part of his act. The poor wittle comedian against the evil KGB man is part of his schtick. If he’s gone, all that is left is guys who can’t keep from wearing “questionable” regalia. At some point, I expect the colonels and majors without bugout spots to end the regime.

        1. some guy

          Do you foresee an eventual civil war between the Ukranormal parts of the military and the Ukranazis within the military and also sprinkled throughout Ukranormal society and government?

          Without a civil war of annihilation-in-detail against all Ukranazi and Ukranazi-adjacent persons down to the very last individual one, how will the Ukranormal parts of Ukrainian military and government be able to force the change of policy you suggest?

    2. Skip Intro

      I think Zelensky is more valuable to Russia as a duly elected leader to sign whatever capitulation is eventually required. Near then, he becomes a liability to the forces pushing for further arms expenditures.

      1. ambrit

        Maybe not. At the end of WW-2, the German who signed the capitulation papers was General Jodl. The new ‘Supreme Leader’ for a short time was Admiral Donitz. Not many had considered that surviving military officers would have to “pick up the pieces” in Germany in 1945.
        So, who in the Ukraine military has the political gravitas to take on the mantle of “Last Leader?”
        I’m beginning to suspect that the Ukraine will not survive as an intact political unit. Perhaps a “Government in Exile,” like many failed autocracies over the years, and a Client State in the lands of the former Ukraine.

        1. hk

          One interesting thing is that the surrender by Jodl et al was really just a military agreement: that the German military was ceasing resistance and laying down arms. I could be wrong, but I don’t think a German “government,” as opposed to the German military, ever actually surrendered because Allies did not recognize any legal gov’t of Germany and as such, denied the right to even surrender. That, applied to Ukraine, would, as you note, mean that Russia will set up some kind of government without any serious ties to the 1991-2023 Ukraine at all.

        2. some guy

          Perhaps a ” Russiakraine” in the East, a Galiciakraine in the West, and a huge NoMans Landistan in the whole broad center. Don’t I remember John ” Dances With Bears” Helmer suggesting that the RussiaGov would want a huge DMZ and DPZ ( depopulation zone) across the whole middle of Ukraine, wide enough when combined with Russiakraine in the East to be too wide for Galiciakraine or NATO to be able to shoot missiles over to reach Russia proper?

          Any Ukrainian farmland taken out of production would make Russian farmland more valuable by default for as long as that Ukrainian farmland could be kept out of production.

  23. Clonal Antibody

    Looks like mines were floated down the river. Doesn’t look like a missile attack to me. The video of the moment of the explosion seems to confirm it to me. I is also congruent with the underwater aspects of the damage.

  24. Lex

    Unreliable Turkish “sources” are now reporting that it was a drone boat. Alternate “sources” are saying that the regular artillery strikes damaged equipment which jammed the flow control gates.

    1. Brunches with Cats

      > artillery strikes damaged equipment which jammed the flow control gates.

      That’s what the mayor of Nova Kakhovka, village closest to the dam, is saying. Somewhere in the extensive coverage at the link in my comment just above, either he or someone else identifies them.

    1. Brunches with Cats

      That’s not how I interpret it. All he’s saying is that the entire dam wasn’t blown up. That must be a real relief for the estimated 5,000 people downstream who need to be evacuated and whose homes are ruined, and the keepers of a small zoo, who despite their best efforts, couldn’t save the animals. Only the ducks and swans survived.

      And FWIW, there are some early estimates that the hydroelectric plant is damaged beyond repair. Evidently it was shut down anyway, due to the war. The only operating function was controlling water flow from the reservoir.

      (All this info is from the link a few comments above.)

  25. Raymond Sim

    Ever since we blew the Nordstream pipelines I’ve reckoned that breaching the dam would be part of any serious Ukrainian counteroffensive. I’m shocked nonetheless. My 65 years on Earth have never, despite repeated demonstrations, acclimated me to the cruelty and nihilism of our rulers.

    Regarding likely Ukrainian casualties, a few weeks ago Armchair Warlord walked through a scenario intended to approximate a potent Ukrainian armored assault against Russian defense in depth (field defenses, not permanent fortifications). If that was predictive, then Ukrainian ‘success’ will require extremely high casualties.

  26. Raymond Sim

    I was just viewing some drone footage of the dam, which looked to have been taken in the late afternoon local time. The water levels look so high that I wonder if they wouldn’t be overtopping the dam in any case. I wonder if any damage acheived with high explosives isn’t mainly in support of an attack mostly being carried out via releases upstream?

  27. The Rev Kev

    Right now you can be sure that there is some guy in the Pentagon looking at videos of all that flooding and casting his eyes on a map of China showing the Three Gorges dam.

    1. Ridgewood James

      If accounts of an irrigation dam in present day north Korea being blown up (by ‘UN’ forces) during the Korean war is to be believed, certain militaries have form in that regard.

  28. The Rev Kev

    Quick spot test here. Which one of these statements is true?

    1) The sail yacht Andromeda was seen sailing away from this area after the dam was destroyed.

    2) British Foreign Minister James Cleverly was on a secret visit to Kiev when this all happened.

    3) A matching diving boot was spotted on the river bed after the dam broke.

  29. Ignacio

    I find it interesting to check this morning that El Pais in Spain reports on the catastrophe without blaming Russia or Putin in the headlines (don’t know inside the articles). It only signals effects of the catastrophe and that “it makes more difficult the spring-summer-autumn-winter counteroffensive”. It made me speculate that this might precisely be one of the objectives. A good excuse to delay the counteroffensive indefinitely.

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