“If in the end not (cut out the word) only a few people died, then people will say how brilliant of Ukraine that they designed this plan. Nobody would have expected it, right? That’s when you become heroic, intelligent, so to speak and praise things like that.”
It is still speculation: who is actually responsible for the blowing up of the Nowa Kakhovka dam near the southern Ukrainian city of Cherson? Ukraine and Russia blame each other.
In an interview with t-online, Ralph Thiele argues why the explosion by Ukraine itself is not so unlikely.
“In fact, there are military benefits for both sides, Ukraine and Russia. They need moments of surprise. In order to surpass the much stronger Russians in terms of personnel and also in equipment and ammunition. This is of course against the background of something so bad like a dam bursting, it’s difficult to imagine someone intentionally applying that to their own people.”
Footage on social media shows huge volumes of water pouring unhindered from the Kakhovka reservoir into the Dnipro River.
This simulation also shows how flood water is projected to spread across the region in 15-20 hours. A total of around 16,000 people on the west bank and 22,000 people on the east bank of the Dnipro were affected by the floods.
“There is also a threat to Crimea, especially to the water supply. We assume that one of the main goals of the Ukrainian offensive will be to liberate Crimea as well, first of all by cutting off the headland are now being caused by the dam breach. Russian equipment is being swept away. Soldiers might also be drowned, the defense lines will be weakened. So from that perspective, something like this might make sense. That would make a stronger argument when you realize that not many people at the will be affected in the end.”
Thiele is surprised at how quickly important information and evacuation options were available from both sides after the attack.
He compares the quick reactions to those in Germany when the floods inundated the Ahr Valley:
“I have our drama in Bad Neuenahr in mind, where it took us an infinitely long time to grasp what was going on there, to initiate emergency measures. Both sides reacted very quickly, also with warnings and calls for evacuation. I find that remarkable. The “The Ukrainian governor just announced on television that the people who are in the threatened areas should wait for the buses that are coming. As I said, it’s all incomprehensible to me. So, as I said, when I think of the horror here, how Not much was possible, and being in a country at war, everything is so well prepared.”
According to Thiele, if Ukraine blew up the dam, that would already be part of the offensive against Russia.
“The hope is to make a bigger breakthrough. So, how do you do that? The Russians are supposed to be outmaneuvered, their leadership is supposed to be overwhelmed. All of this is supposed to distract the Russian leadership, so to speak. Get them to send forces through the area who are then not available in the war zone. The offensive is rolling. And now you just need the opportunity to break through. And I’ll say it soberly – although I have a hard time with the topic of dam breach. But this is the opportunity for a surprise because no one expected it.”
But Thiele suspects that there are also reasons for the Russian side to blow up the dam.
“If in the end not only a few people died, then people will say how brilliant of Ukraine that they created this plan. Nobody would have expected it, right? You will praise heroism, intelligence and stuff like that, so to speak “For the Russian side. If they are expecting attacks from the Ukrainians in person, then you could say that the flooding has simply made it dramatically more difficult to cross the Dnieper river, which ultimately divides the fronts.”
It is one of the common arguments in this war to first of all attribute many of the attacks to the Russian leadership. But that cannot always be proven, according to Thiele.
“If you think about such things soberly, then you have to see that there are reasons that speak for the Russians to do it. There are also reasons that speak for Ukraine. And basically there is now a veil after that others fall. And in the process, we will then find out, did the Russians commit a major crime, a major war crime? Or did the Ukrainians pull off an incredible ruse?”