NV: Western media, including the NYT, and Ukrainian officials, including HUR have said that the Kakhovka dam blast was most likely caused by an internal explosion. HUR reported in April 2022 that Russian forces had installed explosives along the dam, and that sooner or later, the dam would be destroyed. Does this sound about right?
Yusov: Yes, unfortunately, that’s how things stand. HUR did in fact report this information and disseminated it publicly, to both our partners and international institutions. Later, the political leadership and the Ukrainian president also publicly reported this information.
It’s true that the occupiers mined the dam and the HPP practically immediately after its seizure, in fear of a counterattack by Ukrainian forces, and to prepare for a number of scenarios. They were preparing this terrorist act for a long time, and recently they implemented the final decisions for its realization. This was implemented at the very highest levels, absolutely. Events and actions on such a scale are sanctioned by decisions at the highest levels. I, myself, am certain that Vladimir Putin himself gave this order and this command.
NV: Kherson’s municipal military administration head, Roman Mrochko, said the city was unprepared, with insufficient boats and hoses for pumping water, despite the threat to the dam. He said ‘We understand that (the dam’s destruction) was dangerous and could happen in theory, but we didn’t know it would happen when it did.”
Did Ukrainian intelligence know that Russian forces, concretely on June 5 or 6, or around these dates, were planning to blow up the Kakhovka dam?
Yusov: When we talk about the mining (of the dam), then yes, this was public and known across all of Ukraine. And has been known for a while. It’s another thing to have information about the intention to commit a crime and the readiness to commit it.
Understandably, we did not have information on when the button would be pressed and the detonator would go off. Only the possibility – since (the dam) had been mined, this is a proven fact, and this, unfortunately, happened and occurred in our life.
All information about the enemy, their movements, strengths and resources, plans and intentions are constantly being provided to the military-political leadership, and accordingly, this is worked on along the line of military administrations.
NV: Does Ukrainian intelligence know what the Russian occupying soldiers are doing on Kherson region’s left bank? It looks as though their (the Russians’) first and second lines of defense have been washed away. So, what are the Russian forces doing there now?
Yusov: They’re completing their withdrawal, and some of their divisions had withdrawn earlier. A small amount of mobile enemy forces was deployed along the front lines, but obviously, for security reasons, even part of the Ruscist forces were not informed about the timing of this crime.
But yes, they’re withdrawing and partially redeploying to other previously prepared positions. The enemy is currently withdrawing to one of these prepared lines in the south and east of the occupied territories.
NV: Are Russian tactics changing because of the destruction of the Kakhovka dam? Will this affect the course of the war? Does intelligence know something about this?
Yusov: Their tactics in this sense, in general, haven’t changed.
In fact, it’s very interesting to track the different types of lies that have been spreading from Russian propaganda, military, and political leadership of the aggressor nation this morning. One of the elements of these lies is that Ukraine committed this breach to stop further advances from the Ruscists on Kherson. But they hadn’t planned any offensive advances, and there has been no corresponding concentration of forces. The enemy, in that region, has been systematically moving to defense.
Later, these statements disappeared: they themselves stated that they were conducting specifically defensive actions in this region. Bakhmut and the Bakhmut axis is currently and remains the hottest and most active, from the point of view of enemy action. In general, the enemy’s actions in the Kherson region have not changed.
Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine