By Athena Papakosta

“And how does it affect the continuation of the war in Ukraine?” one would add since in the last 24 hours the international news is focusing its interest on the blowing up of the dam in the occupied for about a year now by Moscow, Nova Kahovkaa few kilometers away from the city of Chersona.

The dam in question was built in 1956, was 30 meters high and 3.2 kilometers long, and held approximately 18 billion liters of water, supplying water to the entire Crimean peninsula and electrifying Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia.

As expected, Kiev and its Western allies blame Moscow, with the Ukrainians speaking of terrorist acts and ecocide and the West of war crimes, while the Russian side accuses the Ukrainian army of sabotage.

The images from the area, which are going around the world, capture the scale of the disaster.

The damage to the central part of the dam is visible, while a part of the hydroelectric plant building on the eastern bank of the Dnieper river has also been destroyed. Millions of cubic meters of water engulf the riverside areas destroying villages, settlements, entire areas of land and animals, endangering the lives of thousands of residents of the area who are now trying to leave it. Scientists do not rule out, in fact, that some of the affected areas will be completely erased from the map.

The explosion at the dam raises questions about the next phase of the war that has now completed 15 months.

We are theoretically in the first 24 hours of the much-anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive, or at least that’s what analysts were concluding in the previous 24 hours judging by the fact that Ukrainian forces appeared to be pushing along more than 1,000 kilometers of the front line in the east and south of the country .

From the beginning it was not clear why both sides wanted to destroy the dam since the Russian-occupied as well as the Ukrainian regions would automatically be in danger, while its collapse could have been caused even by its gradual abandonment.

Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, accused Ukraine, stressing that it destroyed the dam to prevent possible Russian attacks in the Kherson region after what he said was a failed Ukrainian counterattack. In addition, he claimed that Ukraine had lost 3,715 soldiers and 52 tanks since Sunday and – in a rare admission of Russian casualties – said that 71 Russian soldiers had been killed and 210 wounded.

For his part, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, spoke of a deliberate and premeditated explosion with other Ukrainian officials also blaming the Russian side, stressing that the purpose was to prevent a Ukrainian counterattack.

At the same time, analysts noted that the dam had been abandoned, a fact that could have led to its collapse without being able to conclude with certainty that this was the reason due to which the disaster was caused.

Grain prices are currently up 3% as Ukraine and Russia are key suppliers of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other food to countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

According to the Ukrainian president, the explosion occurred at 02:50 on Tuesday morning, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov underlining that it was “deliberate sabotage on the part of the Ukrainian side” with potentially very serious consequences.

Ukrainian state-owned company Energoatom stressed that damage to the dam could have negative consequences for the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, noting that for now the situation remains under control.

The destruction of the dam was also condemned by the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, stressing that it “matches the way in which Russia conducts merciless war”. The support of France was reaffirmed by President Emmanuel Macron, although he reserved himself to speak about the destruction of the dam, preferring first to receive full and detailed information from the secret services. For his part, the British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverley, denounced the attack as a heinous act amounting to a “war crime”, while the Secretary General of NATO emphasized that it demonstrates “once again the brutality of Russia’s war in Ukraine”.