The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) released on Friday a recording of what it says is a conversation between two Russian soldiers in which participants say they have knowledge of the presence of a Russian "sabotage group" that blew up the Kakhovka dam "to scare" Ukrainians.
"It is not them (the Ukrainians) who have attacked. A sabotage group of ours is there. They wanted to scare them with this prey. It didn't go according to plan, it was worse than they planned," reads the conversation published Friday by Kiev's secret service.
In the recording, the two soldiers also describe flooding, rising water levels and the destruction caused in the Russian-occupied area by the overflow caused by the destruction of the dam and the hydroelectric power plant of which it was a part.
Kiev reveals recording
Russian soldiers say Moscow blew up Kakhovka dam
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Russia has denied any responsibility and accuses "Kiev authorities" of destroying the dam. Ukraine, for its part, claims that the blowing up of the dam with explosives could only be carried out from inside the infrastructure, to which only the Russian occupation forces have access.
Norwegian scientists have proof
That the dam was blown up by an explosion is a theory gaining traction after a group of Norwegian scientists picked up seismic signals on the same day the dam collapsed.
As reported Friday by the BBC, seismic signals recorded in Bukovina, Romania, 620 km away from Nova Kakhovka, indicate that an explosion occurred at 2:54 on Tuesday.
Norsar, the Norwegian seismic matrix that analyzed the signals, says the timing and location coincide with the dam's collapse.
A large amount of explosives
In addition, only a large amount of explosives could have produced the signal detected more than 600km away, says Paul Adams, BBC World Affairs correspondent.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called it an act of "sabotage" that would deprive the Crimean peninsula, an area annexed by Russia in 2014, of water.
But the effects of the dam's destruction go far beyond preventing water from reaching Crimea. The floods caused by the rupture of the reservoir brought more misery to the war zone.
Photos taken by a drone, show villages completely covered by water, where there are no signs of life, neither human nor animal.
Thousands of evacuees, one hundred thousand hectares of waterlogged agricultural land, dead animals, destroyed irrigation systems, damage to the electrical system, plus the ecological disaster caused by the spillage of tons of fuel seems to be too high a price to pay to only prevent water from reaching Crimea.
Five people have died and about 13 are missing in floodwaters following the dam collapse, Ukraine's interior minister said.
More than 2400 people have been rescued in the Kherson region so far, he added. He said 48 settlements have been flooded in the Kherson area: 34 on the Ukrainian bank of the Dnipro and 14 in Russian-occupied areas.
On the Russian side, the authorities on Friday raised to eight the number of people killed in the floods caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka dam, a figure that volunteers put at several dozen.
"Unfortunately, there are victims, which is inevitable for a catastrophe of such magnitude. They amount to eight people," Vladimir Saldo, acting governor of the Russian-imposed Kherson region, said on his Telegram channel.
The latest victim is an 84-year-old woman, whose body was found after the water level dropped, while two of the dead were victims of a Ukrainian bombing, according to authorities.
Russian rescuers work on rescues in a flooded area. Photo: Reuters
Residents of areas occupied by Russian troops also informed the press about many missing under the waters released by the hydroelectric plant.
They criticized Russia's Ministry for Emergency Situations for obstructing their work by preventing them from accessing the disaster zone.
Two fronts: floods and fighting
The Kakhovka dam collapsed early Tuesday, adding another "battlefront" in the Ukrainian conflict that began with the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022. The dam rupture, analysts say, would respond to Russian attempts to curb the long-awaited Ukrainian counteroffensive in the region.
An apartment bombed on Russian soil, this Friday. Photo: Reuters
The flood however did not stop Kiev's plans. On Friday, Ukraine appeared to be attacking several fronts, with attacks in Bakhmut, Donetsk and Zaporiya, home to Europe's largest nuclear plant.
Russia admitted on Friday that it rejected several attacks by Ukraine in the south of that country, especially in the Zaporiya region.
"During the last 24 hours Ukrainian forces continued their attempts to carry out offensives in the regions of Iukno-Donetsk and Zaporiya," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement, explaining that these attempts were rejected thanks to "decisive actions (...) of the units of the Russian forces."
In addition, three people suffered minor injuries after a drone crashed into a residential building in the center of Voronezh, a city in southwestern Russia near the border with Ukraine, according to the region's governor, Alexander Gusev.
Clarín newsroom with information from BBC News and agencies