The United States has said it cannot yet determine who was behind the explosion of the Kahowka dam in the southern Ukrainian province of Kherson on June 6메이저사이트.
This represents a subtle temperature difference from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU), both of which have condemned the attack as de facto Russian.
“We’re doing our best to assess the reports that Russia is responsible for the dam explosion,” White House National Security Council (NSC) Policy Coordinator John Kirby said at a briefing, adding, “We’re working with Ukraine to gather more information, but we can’t say definitively at this point what happened.”
Earlier in the day, the Kahowka Dam on the Dnipro River in Russian-held Kherson Oblast was destroyed, with both Russia and Ukraine claiming responsibility.
The multi-purpose dam holds 18 cubic kilometers of water and is 6.7 times the size of South Korea’s Chungju Lake.
It is also a key infrastructure for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, which uses the water stored in the dam for cooling. This is why the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is closely monitoring the impact of this event on the plant.
A residence in Kherson, Ukraine, flooded by a dam break.
[Kherson EPA=. Resale and DB prohibited].
Kirby noted that the dam was illegally occupied and controlled by Russian forces at the time of the explosion, but said he could not determine if the explosion was intentional.
“The dam helps power the Kahowka hydropower plant, so in addition to the loss of life, this could have a catastrophic impact on Ukraine’s energy security,” he said. Noting that the massive flooding that resulted from the explosion clearly caused numerous deaths and likely led to the evacuation of thousands of people, Kirby said the United States will continue to work with humanitarian partners on the ground to support the victims.
Asked if the destruction of the dam was a war crime, he said, “International law prohibits the destruction of civilian infrastructure,” and when asked if the sudden explosion would affect Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia, he said, “It’s too early to tell.”
President Joe Biden was immediately briefed on the explosions, the White House said.
In response to the blast, Ukraine called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, characterizing it as Russian terrorism.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg condemned Russia’s brutal act, while EU Council President Charles Michel called it a war crime.
Russia has denied the attack, calling it a terrorist attack carried out by Ukraine.