The destruction of the Kakhovka dam is the dominant topic in the Russian and Ukrainian media on Tuesday morning. The finger-pointing continues among bloggers.
Concern after the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine is great – this also became clear in social media on Tuesday morning. Media sites in Ukraine and Russia know hardly any other topic and report on the consequences of the dam bursting, some in real time. A number of users inquire about more detailed information and discuss it online.
There is a lively exchange, especially in Telegram channels. “Who knows how long the flooding will last?” asks a user named Ranjeso on the channel of Insider UA, a pro-Ukrainian media site. The answers show that the information situation is unclear shortly after the destruction. Users answer with numbers that vary widely: one writes “three hours”, others assume less time, others reckon with several days to a week.
The same Telegram channel reports that people in the region around the reservoir were now stocking up on large quantities of water in supermarkets for fear of water shortages; a photo of shopping carts full of mineral water bottles is also posted.
Other people on social media are responding with calls to think about the animals now exposed to the floods. “Guys please take the dogs off their chains, open all the kennels and cages, please give the animals a chance to survive, this is a horrible death,” a user named Olga posted on Telegram.
The Telegram channels, which are operated partly by private individuals but also by media houses, quickly became the go-to place for Ukrainian people expressing their anger at the Russian invaders on Tuesday. They post typically Russian insults. The word “terrorist” is also often mentioned. Quite a few wish “death for the Russians” and accuse them of “ecocide”, i.e. deliberately wanting to destroy the environment.
Russian bloggers on the line of state propaganda
The excitement on both sides is great. And because no one has accurate, reliable information, there is speculation and accusation in many places – especially in the political assessment of the incident.
This is particularly noticeable in the large group of Russian military observers. Pertinent bloggers have accused Ukraine of an “act of terrorism,” repeating common formulations used in Russian state propaganda.
The Russian political scientist and former Putin advisor, Sergey Markov, posts: “Anyone who now claims that Russia blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station is lying openly in the interests of the VSU (the Ukrainian army, ed.) (.. .), he lies in the interests of the Kiev regime and NATO”.
Russian hardliner and former secret service agent Igor Girkin is spreading the view that the dam was blown up by the Ukrainian side “to ‘wash away’ our troops from the left bank of the Dnieper below Nova Kakhovka.”
The Ukrainian task force south announced on Telegram that the Russian occupiers had blown up the dam themselves. “This is a flagrant act of terrorism and a war crime that will serve as evidence before an international tribunal,” Ukrainian military intelligence wrote on Telegram. President Volodymyr Zelenskyj wrote there about “Russian terrorists”.
Meanwhile, pro-Ukrainian Russian blogger Ian Matveev tweeted a military situation assessment: “Blowing up the dam is more profitable for the Russian army. Yes, they will lose part of the defense positions on the left bank after the flood. However, the flooded Dnieper itself will be the landing operation for the Make WSU (Ukrainian Army, ed.) incredibly difficult. It creates a flooded swamp zone (…). The river just gets wider.”