Ukraine’s domestic security service said on Friday it had intercepted a telephone call proving a Russian “sabotage group” blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric station and dam in southern Ukraine.
The destruction of the facility on Tuesday unleashed mass flooding, forcing thousands of residents to flee and wreaking environmental havoc.
Russia and its proxy officials in Ukraine have blamed Kyiv for destroying the dam but have offered varying explanations.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) posted a one-and-a-half minute audio clip on its Telegram channel of the alleged conversation, which featured two men who appeared to be discussing the fallout from the disaster in Russian.
“They (the Ukrainians) didn’t strike it. That was our sabotage group,” said one of the men, who the SBU described as a Russian soldier. “They wanted to, like, scare (people) with that dam.”
“It didn’t go according to plan, and (they did) more than what they planned for.”
The SBU did not offer further details of the conversation or its participants. It said it had opened a criminal investigation into war crimes and “ecocide”.
“The invaders wanted to blackmail Ukraine by blowing up the dam and staged a man-made disaster in the south of our country,” the SBU said in a statement.