In response to the destruction of the dam at Kakhovka hydroelectric power station in a part of southern Ukraine occupied by Russia, Marie Struthers, Regional Director, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said:
“While towns and villages in downstream Dnipro river are going under water, the human and environmental cost of the destruction of the Kakhovka dam is a huge humanitarian disaster, and the international community must unite to bring those responsible to justice.
“The rules of international humanitarian law specifically protect dams, due to the dangers their destruction poses to civilians. The destruction of the Kakhovka dam is a catastrophe that endangers the life, safety and well-being of tens if not hundreds of thousands of people living within range of the flood waters. It is literally an open floodgate for catastrophic human and environmental disaster.
“The destruction of the dam floods enormous territories downstream but upstream it will deprive the population of safe water supply, including in major cities and in the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula. Particularly worryingly, it may have catastrophic effects on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which is also under Russian control, and which relies on Dnipro’s water for critical maintenance.
“Authorities on all sides must prioritize the evacuation and safety of civilians affected by the dam’s destruction and take steps to minimize its other consequences.
“There must be a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the destruction of the Kakhova dam. We also reiterate our call for all those suspected of responsibility for aggression, war crimes and other crimes under international law to be brought to justice in fair trials and for victims and survivors to receive full reparation.”
Amnesty International has been documenting war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. All of Amnesty International’s outputs published to date can be found here.