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14 Jun, 2023 15:45

US knew Ukraine planned to destroy Kakhovka dam – Moscow

Kiev coordinates all targets for the HIMARS rocket launchers with Washington, a top Russian diplomat has said
US knew Ukraine planned to destroy Kakhovka dam – Moscow

Washington was perfectly aware of Kiev’s plan to destroy the Kakhovka dam since US-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launchers were used in the attack, high-ranking Russian diplomat Konstantin Gavrilov said on Wednesday.

HIMARS launchers are “high-precision systems that make use of the US GPS navigation system for targeting,” Gavrilov, who heads Russia’s delegation at the Vienna talks on military security and arms control, said. Any targets picked out by Kiev for these systems are “coordinated with the Americans,” he added.

According to the official, Ukrainian forces struck the Kakhovka dam with more than 300 HIMARS missiles over the summer and autumn of 2022. “The Americans knew about it. Yet, they did nothing to prevent the catastrophe,” Gavrilov said.

On Wednesday, Russian officials also presented their estimates of the damage caused by the destruction of the dam. The losses amounted to over 1.2 billion rubles ($14 million), according to the Russian Emergencies Ministry. More than 7,000 people have been evacuated from the risk zone, the ministry added.

The dam collapsed last week, leading to both banks of the Dnieper River being flooded and multiple deaths. Moscow and Kiev have since traded accusations over who is to blame for the disaster.

Officials in Kiev claimed that Russia blew up the dam to supposedly stop the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the area. However, this idea was dismissed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said the local terrain was already extremely unfavorable for an attack even before the incident. He also said that Russia would have had no interest in destroying the dam, as it would spell “severe consequences for those territories that we control and which are Russian.” 

Last week, Ukraine slammed Türkiye for suggesting a UN-backed three-party investigation into the incident. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said at that time that he was “sick and tired” of calls to probe events that occurred during the conflict.

The Ukrainian envoy to the UN, Sergey Kislitsa, claimed that launching such a probe would be “impossible.” Russian officials said they were not surprised by Kiev’s reaction to the Turkish proposal. Moscow’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, also accused Washington of attempts to “whitewash” Kiev by shifting the blame onto Russia.

The envoy stated that Ukraine’s “patrons” in Washington “never criticize Kiev,” but instead approve of all of its actions.