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Journalists from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Slidstvo.info have identified members of the Russian military who controlled the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant at the time of the dam explosion on June 6, according to a joint investigation.
Intercepts of telephone conversations among soldiers of the 205th Brigade, the Russian force occupying the dam, and their commanders indicate that the military was preparing to act "on command" the night the dam was destroyed.
The explosion triggered a humanitarian and ecological disaster, with catastrophic flooding throughout Kherson Oblast.
While Russia has denied responsibility for the dam's explosion, their military has occupied the Kakhovka plant since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in 2022. Intercepted communications from the night of the disaster further show that the Russians had planned "escape points" and were waiting on a "command" from their superiors.
“It was all done from the inside,” Ukrainian military sapper Mykola Shchegelsky told the investigative team. “The dam was definitely prepared to be blown up.”
The journalists identified multiple officers who controlled the Kakhovka dam the night of June 6, including 35-year-old Arsen Pitskhelauri, Sergeant Ruslan Magomedov, and Major Denis Mishchenko, the deputy commander of the 205th Brigade.