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Fact check: Viral video of the Kakhovka dam explosion is old

June 6, 2023

Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine. A viral video that purports to show the explosion of the dam is, in fact, of a 2022 blast.

Screenshot from Twitter says: "The moment that the Nova Kakhovka dam was blown up"
On Twitter, this person posted a video claiming it showed the June 6 blast that destroyed the Kakhovka dam, but the footage is from 2022

Parts of the Russia-occupied southern Ukrainian region of Kherson are currently flooded after a massive explosion at the Kakhovka dam.

Almost 100 towns and villages in Ukraine could soon be under water, according to an estimate by a Ukrainian nongovernmental organization. The World Data Center for Geoinformatics and Sustainable Development has said it could take five to seven days for the water masses to drain. Evacuation efforts are underway.

Though Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused "Russian terrorists" of blowing up the Kakhovka hydroelectric plant from the inside, the Kremlin-installed mayor of the town of Nova Kakhovka, Vladimir Leontyev, spoke of a "terrorist attack directed against civilians — Ukrainians did it." Allegations surrounding the destruction of the Dnipro dam near Kakhovka are also dominating social media.

Claim: A video purporting to show the explosion has gone viral. "The moment that the Nova Kakhovka dam was blown up," one user wrote about the video, which has been viewed more than 200,000 times. The same video has been viewed more than 850,000 times in another tweet in which a user claims that "Russian occupation forces blew up the Kahovka hydroelectric power station".

Fact check: Misleading.

The cause and authorship of the explosions at the Kakhovka dam are still unclear. What is clear, however, is that the viral video does not show Tuesday's explosion. Image reverse searches of stills from the video using, for example, Tineye and Google have revealed that the video shown is from 2022. On November 12, several media reported on an explosion at the Kakhovka dam. At the time, retreating Russian troops had destroyed parts of the damSatellite images showed the destruction of the dam after the November explosion.

The video, recorded at night by a surveillance camera, went viral on social media back in November and has now been posted again. It shows the Kakhovka dam, but not the current explosion with its devastating consequences. Therefore, it must be considered misleading in this context.

Ukraine's Kakhovka dam blowup unleashes floodwaters

This article originally appeared in German.

Joscha Weber Bonn 9577
Joscha Weber Editor and fact-checker focusing on separating facts from fiction and uncovering disinformation.@joschaweber
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