Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : The destruction of the Kakhovka dam – UK statement to the OSCE [July 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 12 July 2023.

Deputy Ambassador Brown says Russia must bear ultimate responsibility for the destruction of the Kakhovka dam.

Chairs, as we said this morning, and as we have seen in detail this afternoon, the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam is a major catastrophe with wide-reaching ecological and humanitarian consequences. Tens of thousands have been directly impacted by the resultant flooding.

Let us be clear. Russia has controlled the area since just after the invasion and must bear ultimate responsibility: none of the suffering that we have seen or the damage caused would have happened if Russia had not launched an unprovoked and illegal war of aggression.

We are still analysing the impact on Ukraine’s grain production, but what is very clear is that this disaster has had, and will have, an unquantifiable impact on Ukraine’s ability to maintain production. An attack on the dam is not just on Ukraine, but on all those who depend on Ukraine’s grain exports to provide food around the world.

The destruction of the Kakhovka is abhorrent. Intentionally targeting exclusively civilian infrastructure is a war crime. And any targeting of innocent civilians or humanitarian workers trying to escape an ongoing humanitarian disaster is not only barbaric, but also a gross breach of the Geneva Conventions.

The links between environmental destruction and security are alarmingly clear. And it is right that we should discuss them in this forum at the OSCE.