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U.S. Official Says Spy Satellites Detected Explosion Just Before Dam Collapse

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U.S. Official Says Spy Satellites Detected Explosion Just Before Dam Collapse

WASHINGTON — A senior Biden administration official says that U.S. spy satellites detected an explosion on the Kakhovka dam simply earlier than it collapsed, however American analysts nonetheless have no idea who precipitated the dam’s destruction or how precisely it occurred.

The official mentioned that satellites geared up with infrared sensors detected a warmth signature in keeping with a serious explosion simply earlier than the dam collapsed, unleashing enormous floodwaters downstream.

American intelligence analysts suspect that Russia was behind the dam’s destruction, the senior administration official mentioned, talking on the situation of anonymity to debate operational particulars. But he added that U.S. spy businesses nonetheless don’t have any strong proof about who was accountable.

Seismic knowledge picked up by the NORSAR observatory in Norway additionally supported the idea there had been massive explosion close to Kakhovka dam on Tuesday at 2:54 a.m. native time, when the construction collapsed. NORSAR mentioned in a press release that alerts captured from a station 385 miles away from the dam present clear indications of an explosion.

Engineering and munitions specialists have mentioned a deliberate explosion contained in the Kakhovka dam, which is managed by Russia, almost certainly precipitated its collapse on Tuesday. They added that structural failure or an assault from outdoors the dam had been doable however much less believable explanations.

The administration official didn’t rule out the likelihood that prior injury to the dam or mounting water stress might need contributed to the collapse, however American officers imagine the explosion, whether or not deliberate or unintentional, was the doubtless set off.

Experts had cautioned earlier this week that the obtainable proof was very restricted, however they mentioned {that a} blast in an enclosed area, with all of its vitality utilized towards the construction round it, would do probably the most injury. Even then, they mentioned, it might require a whole lot of kilos of explosives, no less than, to breach the dam.

An exterior detonation by a bomb or missile would exert solely a fraction of its pressure towards the dam, and would require an explosive many instances bigger to realize an identical impact.

Ukraine’s intelligence company, the SBU, says it’s persevering with to assemble proof to assist its declare that Russia destroyed the dam. On Friday, Ukrainian intelligence launched an audio recording, translated into English, that it claimed was between two Russian troopers and was proof that Russian forces orchestrated the destruction of the dam.

One of the audio system on the telephone name says that Ukrainian forces didn’t trigger the destruction. “It was our sabotage group,” the speaker says. “They wanted to, sort of, scare with this dam. It went not as planned, but more than they planned.”

The Ukrainians didn’t present primary particulars that may permit impartial verification of the tape, together with who the individuals had been, why the speaker might need recognized what occurred and why anybody might need been listening to this specific name.

Artem Dekhtyarenko, press secretary for the SBU, mentioned in a written message that the decision occurred on Thursday, however that different particulars, such because the audio system’ areas and identities, had been being withheld as a result of “this record is an element of criminal proceedings.”

Russian officers have supplied a collection of various explanations for the destruction, together with accusing Ukraine of sabotage, with out providing proof or explaining how Ukraine would have gained entry to the dam.

Marc Santora and Gabriela Sá Pessoa contributed reporting from Kyiv.

Source web site: www.nytimes.com