How the West will react to the undermining of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant?
On the night of June 6, Russian occupiers blew up the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant. The destruction of a hydroelectric power plant is considered to be the same as using a weapon of mass destruction and a war crime under the Geneva Convention.
What could be the political consequences for Russia after this blast? Charter97.org addressed this and other questions to Slovak political scientist Grigorij Mesežnikov, the President of the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO), Bratislava:
– This is a result of Russian aggression. The final goal of the Russian Federation is the destruction of the Ukrainian state and its conquest. I believe that the blowing up of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Ptation is clear evidence of Russia's approach to what is happening in the war. It failed to take control of the whole of Ukraine. It suffers a political and military defeat. The Russian Federation has repeatedly used the situation that has developed as a result of the war in order to undermine Ukrainian statehood and complicate the process of liberating the Ukrainian territories by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Earlier there was information that Russian troops were mining this dam. Whether they blew it up in order to prevent a Ukrainian counteroffensive or there was an unplanned explosion of a previously mined plant, in any case there is no doubt that only the Russian Federation is responsible.
I tend to think that this was done right now specifically in order to complicate its actions on the eve of the expected counteroffensive by Ukraine.
– Russia calls the occupied Crimea and the left bank of the Kherson region "its own", while organizing a man-made disaster there. What does it mean?
– The fact that they decided that this territory belongs to them is a fiction that will not last long, no one in the world, except for completely insane regimes, recognizes the annexation of this territory. Russia, in fact, and on its own, internationally recognized territory, often behaves like a pariah state in relation to its own people. Therefore, there is nothing to surprising, exept the horrific scale of the disaster.
It is an obvious fact that over the past decades this regime has used such methods against its own citizens in its internationally recognized territory. For example, explosions of houses in order to unleash the second Chechen war and many other similar incidents. The Russian state has turned into a monster that neither moral obligations nor laws can stop.
The case of the Kakhovka HPP fits into the logic of the Russia’s war against Ukraine.
– Zelensky said that Ukraine would sue the Court in the Hague for blowing up the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant, and Ukraine would also initiate a meeting of the UN Security Council. What could be the political consequences for Russia?
– The explosion certainly did not pass unnoticed. Prominent figures and politicians from the states allied to Ukraine have already made statements. I think that the political consequences can be very real in the sense that this will only strengthen the will of Ukraine's allies to help it, including with weapons.
I think that even if the West still had some doubts about certain types of weapons and their use, what happened can only strengthen the will of the Western community to help Ukraine even more effectively. I mean the ATACMS long-range missiles for example. This, it seems to me, may become the most important consequence of the explosion of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant.
I'd like to emphasize that although there are certain ambiguities regarding the technical side of the explosion, no one doubts who is responsible for this catastrophe. Nova Kakhovka has been under Russian occupation for more than a year, the hydroelectric power plant was in their hands. They could do whatever they wanted there. There was information that they brought a huge amount of explosives there. There were videos in which some Russian soldiers said that they were directly involved in mining.
Once again, I am tend to believe that the explosion took place specifically before the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It is more important for the Russian Federation to create obstacles for the actions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, even if their consequences affect the Russians themselves. After all, apparently, the undermining of the hydroelectric power plant directly affected the positions of their troops and created problems for them.