Responding to the destruction of the Kajovka hydroelectric power station dam in a Russian-occupied part of southern Ukraine, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said:
“With towns and cities along the Dnieper River sinking underwater, the human and environmental cost of the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam is a massive humanitarian disaster and the international community must unite to hold those responsible to justice..
“The norms of international humanitarian law specifically protect dams due to the dangers that their destruction entails for the civilian population. The destruction of the Kajovka dam is a catastrophe that endangers the lives, safety and well-being of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people living within reach of the flood. It is literally an open floodgate for a catastrophic human and environmental disaster.
“The destruction of the dam floods vast territories downstream, but upstream it will deprive people of safe drinking water supplies, including in major cities and in the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula. Of particular concern is the possibility that it will have catastrophic effects on the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, also under Russian control, and whose maintenance depends on water from the Dnieper.
“Authorities on all sides must give priority to the evacuation and safety of the civilian population affected by the destruction of the dam and take measures to minimize the other consequences.
“An independent and impartial investigation into the destruction of the Kajovka dam must be opened without delay. We further 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.”
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