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The Institute for the Study of War could not offer a definitive assessment of responsibility for the Kakhovka dam destruction but wrote that "the balance of evidence, reasoning, and rhetoric suggests that the Russians deliberately damaged the dam."
The D.C.-based think tank referenced its October 2022 forecast in the June 6 analysis. The October assessment claimed that Russian forces "will likely attempt to blow up the dam at the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) to cover their withdrawal" and to prevent Ukrainian forces' advance.
ISW June assessment speculated that the flooding could be used by Russian forces as a tactic to "widen the Dnipro River and complicate Ukrainian counteroffensive attempts across the already-challenging water feature."
Russia's "greater and clearer interest in flooding the lower Dnipro," contrasts with the settlement flooding risks and counteroffensive complications for Ukraine.
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.