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Russia had the "means, motive and the opportunity" to bring down the Kakhovka dam across the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast, according to a June 19 Associated Press article citing new drone footage and inside sources.
Images obtained by AP, taken from above the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant, appear to show an explosive-laden car atop. The photo was taken on May 28, a week before the dam collapsed.
AP claims that Russian allegations that Ukraine destroyed the dam by missile or artillery fire can not be true, as evidenced partly by the seismic trace of the blast which could have only been triggered by a stronger explosive charge.
"Nor does it seem credible that Ukrainian commandos could have sneaked in thousands of pounds of explosives to blow the dam, which was completely controlled inside and out by Russian soldiers for months," the article says.
AP noted that the car in the photos from Ukrainian drone footage was fitted with large barrels, one of which seemed to contain a land mine. However, the car bomb itself would not have been enough to bring down the dam, the article said.
On June 18, a New York Times investigation found that "the dam was crippled by an explosion set off by the side that controls it: Russia." The Institute for the Study of War on June 7 wrote "the balance of evidence, reasoning, and rhetoric suggests that the Russians deliberately damaged the dam."
Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council chief Oleksii Danilov said on June 6 the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant's dam in Kherson Oblast was blown up by Russia's 205th Motorized Rifle Brigade.
The Kakhovka dam collapsed on June 6, sparking a humanitarian and environmental disaster across southern Ukraine. Ukrainian authorities say Russian forces blew up the dam to prevent a Ukrainian counter-offensive.
According to the Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko, at least 17 people had been killed as a result of the Kakhovka dam disaster on the Ukrainian-controlled side of the river alone. 31 people are still considered missing, a total of 3,614 people have been recorded as evacuated, including 474 children. As of June 18, about 880 houses remain flooded.
Despite the challenges from the dam explosion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on June 6 that it will not prevent Ukraine from liberating Russian-occupied territories and preparing for a counteroffensive.