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9 Jun, 2023 13:35

Kiev’s reluctance to probe dam collapse ‘unsurprising’ – Moscow

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says Ukraine’s objections to an international probe fit a pattern of stonewalling
Kiev’s reluctance to probe dam collapse ‘unsurprising’ – Moscow

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has accused the Ukrainian government of having something to hide, over its refusal to support an independent investigation into the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam collapse.

On Thursday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba lashed out at Türkiye, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered to organize a UN-backed three-party investigation into the frontline dam’s destruction. The diplomat claimed it was “absolutely clear” who was responsible, adding that he was “sick and tired” of calls to probe events that occur during the conflict.

Kiev’s envoy to the UN, Sergey Kislitsa, has declared that conducting a probe is “impossible.”

“I am not surprised,” Zakharova remarked on social media on Friday, commenting on Ukraine’s reaction. “The Kiev regime wouldn’t even submit to the UN the list of people, who it claimed were killed in Bucha.”

The spokeswoman was referring to allegations of an atrocity in a small town near Kiev, which was under Russian control for a short period last year. Moscow’s Defense Ministry ordered troops to pull back in late March 2022, calling it a goodwill gesture, after Ukraine and Russia reached a breakthrough during Türkiye-mediated peace talks in Istanbul.

Kiev aborted the negotiations shortly afterwards, claiming it had found evidence of Russian atrocities in Bucha. Moscow dismissed the details presented by Ukraine as “fabricated” and accused the US and its allies of derailing the talks.

Zakharova also compared the Ukrainian reaction to the dam rupture to the stonewalling of a Russian proposal for a UN-backed international investigation into the Nord Stream sabotage in September 2022. Most members of the UN Security Council abstained during a vote in March 2023, with only Russia, China and Brazil supporting the draft resolution, which resulted in its failure.

The blasts severely damaged the natural gas pipelines linking Russia to Germany. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has since accused US President Joe Biden of ordering the operation, a claim that the White House has denied.

The Russian-controlled Kakhovka dam in Kherson region was destroyed early on Tuesday morning. Several people were killed, while thousands more were exposed to flooding.

Kiev has accused Russia of blowing up the dam, but has acknowledged that it cannot provide evidence to back up the allegation.

“What kind of evidence can we have?” President Vladimir Zelensky asked rhetorically, in an interview with the German newspaper Bild. “Please, let our people on the scene, and they will find evidence.”

Russia, in turn, has accused Ukraine of destroying the dam. President Vladimir Putin labeled it a “barbaric act” and warned that Kiev and its Western backers are following a path of dangerous escalation.

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