Eastern Europe expert Åslund sees the blowing up of the Kakhowka dam in Kherson as a new phase in the Ukraine war.
Kyiv – Flooded villages, lack of drinking water and motor oil in the Dnipro River: The blowing up of the Kakhovka Dam in Ukraine is a catastrophe for the population and the environment. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks of a "new dimension" of the war. After many setbacks, Russia now wants to proceed with increased aggression against Ukraine and is increasingly targeting civilian targets, Scholz said on WDR. Economist and Eastern Europe expert Anders Åslund from Sweden takes a similar view.
With the dam blowing up by Russia, the war against Ukraine has entered a new phase, Åslund wrote on Twitter. Originally, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a plan to completely take over Ukraine and not destroy its infrastructure. In another tweet, Åslund wrote that Russia is now exclusively trying to destroy Ukraine and its people and has "abandoned" the original goal.
Åslund after dam blasting: West can do more
Åslund apparently expects a reaction from the West to this "new phase". He goes on to write: "Can the West really stand by without interfering? There's so much more the West can do." So far, it is still unclear who is behind the blast. Russia and Ukraine blame each other for the incident. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also called on the West to take even tougher action against Moscow.
Åslund also warned that the floods would hit the villages occupied by Russia the most. In addition, there is now no water available for the Crimean Canal, which does not make the peninsula "untenable". "By blowing up this dam, Putin gave up Crimea," the expert said. The Russian ruler should evacuate his troops better, the Swede continued.
Numerous Western politicians blame Russia. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, for example, said there was only one person responsible, and that was Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. With the Kakhovka Dam, a civilian dam near a nuclear power plant is being misused as a weapon of war and the lives of the people in the area are being put in grave danger, Baerbock said.
Military expert: Russia is bare
Military expert Christian Mölling also sees Russia's weakness in the action. Mölling is Deputy Director of the Research Institute of the German Council on Foreign Relations. In an interview with the Tagesschau, he said that Russia apparently did not have many options for action. Moscow is no longer in a position to "escalate militarily in the classic way" and is "militarily quite bare".
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Russia said Ukraine was behind the explosion and wanted to cut off Crimea's water supply. Moscow annexed the Black Sea peninsula in 2014 in violation of international law. Kiev denied the accusation. It is obvious that Russia is trying to slow down the Ukrainian counteroffensive and delay the end of the war.