How the dam destruction will impact Ukraine's counteroffensive — and what that tells us
When both sides of a conflict blame each other for something as important as the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam, there's only one way to understand what's going on: find out who benefits from the crime.
Moscow and Kyiv continue to blame each other for blowing up the Nova Kakhovka dam in Russian-controlled Ukrainian territory. The dam's destruction is flooding the region around Kherson, the main town retaken by the Ukrainians last November.
It's a humanitarian and ecological disaster, and a major offense. It's worth pointing out that the Geneva Conventions formally prohibit attacks on dams, dikes or nuclear power plants, so this may constitute a war crime.
The immediate consequence of this sabotage is that it could hamper a possible Ukrainian counteroffensive in this strategic region. If the Ukrainians had considered launching their long-awaited and much-trumpeted assault in the Kherson region, this is now doubtful.
The flooding and state of the soil over the next few weeks makes the passage of armored vehicles and troops no longer possible.
This could force Ukrainian forces to divert some of their resources to deal with the humanitarian emergency, and to review their attack plans. From this point of view, it's a setback for Kyiv.
If, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vehemently proclaims, it was indeed the Russians who blew up the dam, this is yet another step in the conflict's escalation.
Since the Russian invasion began, we've seen the blackmail of grain exports, a nuclear power plant taken hostage, civilian homes deliberately targeted and the destruction of entire towns. Unable to achieve its initial objectives of conquering power in Kyiv, Moscow is waging a war of unabashed brutality.
But the stakes are obviously high: Vladimir Putin cannot afford to give the announced Ukrainian offensive the slightest chance of success.
The Ukrainian army's offensive, which has been rumored in recent days to have already begun, has taken on political as well as military significance. Reinforced by Western weapons and troops recently returned from training in NATO countries, Ukraine has been preparing for weeks.
Ukraine faces a 1,000-kilometer wall of Russian defenses. If Russia succeeds in preventing the Ukrainian army from reclaiming a significant part of the occupied territories, the pressure will be on to transform Ukraine into yet another "frozen conflict." That is what the Chinese emissary to Europe proposed a few days ago: a ceasefire that would freeze the positions of both sides.
This is the only way for Moscow to consolidate its gains, and it is unacceptable to Kyiv as long as there is any hope of reconquering the territory by force. The partial destruction of the dam takes on a particular significance in this context: it changes the parameters of the Ukrainian offensive.
Taking back its territory has become a little more difficult, but Ukraine knows it has no choice.
— Pierre Haski / France Inter
• Tens of thousands at risk from flooding after Ukraine dam collapse: After the Nova Kakhovka dam was destroyed in southern Ukraine, around 42,000 people are at risk from flooding. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that hundreds of thousands of people have been left without drinking water. Ukraine and Russia continue to blame each other for the dam collapse.
• UN Court rules Rwanda genocide suspect unfit for trial: A UN court has ruled that an 88-year-old man accused of being a major financier of the 1994 Rwandan genocide is unfit to stand trial. Félicien Kabuga's lawyers had argued that he suffered from dementia. He was arrested in Paris in 2020 after evading capture for 26 years, alleged to have financed ethnic Hutu militias who slaughtered about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
• Earthquake kills three in Haiti following deadly floods: At least three people have been killed in an earthquake in the Haitian city of Jérémie. The 4.9-magnitude quake struck in the early hours of the morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said. This comes days after torrential rains have killed at least 42 people and displaced more than 13,000.
• Rishi Sunak-Biden meeting: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak started a two-day trip to Washington, with the war in Ukraine as a priority and carrying the message that post-Brexit Britain remains an essential American ally. The breaching of a major dam in southern Ukraine has given the subject more urgency. Neither Washington nor London has officially accused Russia of blowing up the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam.
• Pope Francis to undergo surgery: Pope Francis will undergo surgery on his abdomen on Wednesday afternoon at Rome's Gemelli hospital. He is expected to stay in hospital for "several days" to recover from the hernia operation, the Vatican said. The 86-year-old has faced a series of health issues in recent years.
• Shooting in Virginia kills two after high school graduation ceremony: A man armed with four handguns killed two people and injured five when he fired into a crowd after a high school graduation ceremony in the United States city of Richmond, Virginia.
• Say goodbye to “ducking hell”: Apple has announced it will no longer automatically change one of the most common swear words to “ducking.” The autocorrect feature, which has long frustrated users, will soon be able to use AI to detect when you really mean to use the curse word. "In those moments where you just want to type a ducking word, well, the keyboard will learn it, too," said software boss Craig Federighi.
“Is Moscow behind the destroyed dam?,” asks the Belgian daily DeMorgen on today’s front page. Yesterday, the dam of the Kakhovka power plant was breached in the Kherson region of Ukraine, unleashing massive floodwaters in the area. Ukraine and Russia are accusing each other of destroying the infrastructure, which supplies water to Crimea and is used to cool off the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
In China, a record-breaking 12.91 million students began the “gaokao” college entrance exam today, 980,000 more than the previous year. Pressure to perform is intense as Chinese youth employment is high and scoring well in the two-day long exam is students’ one shot to get into the country’s top universities. In preparation for the infamous exam, cities have banned cars from honking and installed facial recognition technology against cheating.
AI is good for education — and bad for teachers who teach like machines
Despite fears of AI upending the education and the teaching profession, artificial education will be an extremely valuable tool to free up teachers from rote exercises to focus on the uniquely humanistic part of learning. Julián de Zubiría Samper for Colombian daily El Espectador.
💻 Early in 2023, Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates included teaching among the professions most threatened by Artificial Intelligence (AI), arguing that a robot could, in principle, instruct as well as any school-teacher. While Gates is an undoubted expert in his field, one wonders how much he knows about teaching.
👩🏫 The pandemic showed what some technological optimists like Gates could not understand: that good education is not about quantitative learning, but development. It involves teamwork, communication, interaction, and even emotion and artistry. That means people gathered in a classroom.
🤖 Feedback is a part of the educational process, which is a dialogue between teacher and pupil. Here, AI will act as a singular monitor of students' progress in learning and absorbing skills in reading, thinking and conceptualization. With this information at hand, the priority for teachers will be to guide, or better guide, mediate, communicate and consolidate the relevant concepts. Our focus will be to advance the developmental process.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
“I don’t support war. I don’t support Lukashenko right now.”
— Belarusian tennis player Aryna Sabalenka declared she does not support the actions of President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. This is her strongest condemnation to date, having previously been called out for her reluctance to speak against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, dodging political questions in several press conferences. One of Belarus' most prominent athletes — currently ranked No. 2 in the world —Sabalenka has reached the semifinals of the French Open in Paris by defeating Ukraine's Elina Svitolina. Sabalenka made recent headlines when a photo of her hugging the Belarusian president resurfaced.
✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Yannick Champion-Osselin, Chloé Touchard, Marine Béguin and Anne-Sophie Goninet
From Your Site Articles
Related Articles Around the Web