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Russia is speculating on the "grain agreement" by preventing Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea. On 30 and 31 May, without any explanation, Russia registered for inspection only one arriving vessel to the port of Chernomorsk. And on 4 June, having registered two vessels, the Russians ignored the need to inspect 56 vessels that had been waiting in Turkish territorial waters for a long time for permission to enter Ukrainian ports.
Russia's Black Sea blockade of Ukraine's maritime trade with other countries amounts to piracy, or at least the threat of piracy. Russian warships are planting sea mines and firing missiles at commercial vessels, regardless of which flag they are flying and denying them access to Ukrainian ports. By accepting Russia's veiled threats to sink foreign-flagged merchant vessels in international waters, the global community has allowed the Kremlin to successfully blackmail the entire world.
With limited manoeuvres, Russia decided to playtime slash and burn card by blowing up the Kakhovska hydroelectric dam on 6 June, which will have a negative effect on the new Ukrainian harvest in the second half of 2023 and early 2024 leading potentially to an environmental and food disaster.
This was a pre-emptive strike by Russia against their main competitor for grain production on the world market, by which Russia wants to force major importers to buy their own agricultural products.
Today, the UN estimates that some 1.7 billion people in the world, mostly located in Africa, face starvation due to food system disruptions caused by Russia's invasion and war against Ukraine. Africa is a huge food market and leverage point and just on the eve of the Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg in July, by claiming not to extend the "grain deal", Moscow is actually blackmailing African countries with hunger so that they are forced to support Russia's aggressive policy.
Today, because of Russia's blatant terrorist actions, few countries are willing to have friendly relations with the pariah country. Moscow deserves only tougher sanctions and global isolation.
On 6 June, the Russian Federation carried out a large-scale terrorist attack in Ukraine, which once again confirmed the terrorist nature of this state. As a result of the deliberate actions of the Russian army, the dam of the Kakhovska hydroelectric power plant was destroyed and the water level downstream began to rise rapidly. The operation of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which could be left without cooling, has been endangered, as well as irrigation for crops in large parts of southern Ukraine. The flooding of villages adjacent to the Dnieper riverbed has caused the death of local residents and the destruction of houses and infrastructure.
The Ukrainian army is preparing for the greatest counter-offensive of the war. This is what the president and the entire military command of the Russian Federation fear, as they realise their exposure and weakness. Having come up with no other options to confront the armed forces of Ukraine, they decided to adopt a policy of slash and burn and to destroy the Kakhovska hydroelectric power plant. The criminal Moscow regime did not even take into account the fact that it is on the left bank of the Dnieper river, where the Russian army is located, that the civilian population will suffer the most.
The explosion of the Kakhovska HPP dam has led to a significant drop in the level of the reservoir used to supply cooling water to the Zaporizhzhia NPP. The lack of cooling water in the main water cooling systems for an extended period of time can lead to fuel meltdown and failure of emergency diesel generators. The IAEA chief notes that the cooling water is supplied from a reservoir and pumped through ducts near the TPP to the site. It is estimated that it should last for several days.
More than 80 settlements are at risk of flooding. For example, in the city of Kherson, where only a couple of days ago there were roads used by cars - today it is impossible to get there without a boat. Water is arriving almost every minute. The dam failure has also led to the death of hundreds of animals in the zoo in the town of Nova Kakhovka, which is under occupation by Russian troops. It is now difficult to get information from towns that are under Russian army control because there are internet disruptions. Russia has started jamming the signal to keep people in an information vacuum.
Drainage of the bottom of the Kakhovka reservoir and leakage of water from it will affect fish resources of Ukraine the most. In the coming days most of all living organisms from the Kakhovka reservoir will die. At the time of the terrorist attack at least 43 species of fish were present in the Kahovka Reservoir, of which 20 species are commercially important in Ukraine. Some of the fish have already died. It will take at least 7-10 years to restore stocks to pre-catastrophe levels. The disaster in Kherson region has effectively left three regions without a water source. The explosion caused a water shortage in 94% of the irrigation systems in Kherson Oblast, 74% in Zaporizhzhia Oblast and 30% in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.
The demolition of the dam at Nova Kakhovka is a war crime under the terms of the Geneva Convention, but Russia has already systematically violated the Geneva Convention during its war in Ukraine. Destruction of the HPP is considered a tactic of mass destruction and an indiscriminate war crime under Article 56 of Additional Protocol I of 1977. After these events, the number one task for the entire civilised world is to stop the criminal regime of Vladimir Putin, who is putting large numbers of civilians at risk of death now not only in Ukraine but around the world. The time has come for decisive action by the international community: the Ukrainian army must be given as many weapons as it takes to completely defeat the aggressor.