Background Briefing: June 6, 2023


Flooding From a Breached Dam Delays Any Ukrainian Military Attack From the South Into Crimea

We begin with the blowing up of the Nova Kakhovka dam presumably by the Russians which has caused catastrophic flooding and environmental damage downstream making it unlikely that a Ukrainian military attack from the south into Crimea could be launched until the flood waters recede and the ground dries. Joining us is Dr. Sasha Dovzhyk, a London-based author from Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine and a special projects curator at the Ukrainian Institute in London. She holds research affiliations with Goldsmiths and Birkbeck at the University of London and we discuss the possible impact on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhya as the water level drops to the point the plant cannot pump water to cool the reactors.


A Reporter’s Earlier Conversations With Zelensky About Russia Blowing up the Dam

Then we speak with Simon Shuster, a reporter for Time Magazine based in New York City, by way of Moscow, Kyiv and Berlin.  He has previously covered Russia and the former Soviet Union for Reuters, The Associated Press, The Moscow Times and Foreign Policy, and his forthcoming book is The Fight Is Here: Volodymyr Zelensky and the War in Ukraine. His latest article at Time Magazine is “Inside Ukraine’s Push to Try Putin for War Crimes” and we discuss Simon’s earlier conversations with President Zelensky about a possible Russian destruction of the dam and how what just happened might alter plans for the Ukrainian counteroffensive just starting.


The Impact on Ukrainian Civilian Infrastructure and New Reporting That Ukraine Was Behind the Nord Stream Pipeline Sabotage

 Then finally we speak with Emily Channell-Justice, the Director of the Temerty Contemporary Ukraine Program at the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University. A sociocultural anthropologist who has been doing research on political activism and social movements in Ukraine since 2012, her latest book is Without the State: Self-Organization and Political Activism in Ukraine. We discuss the impact of this latest Russian attack on infrastructure on Ukrainian civilians and the latest reporting at The Washington Post indicating that a small Ukrainian military unit independent from President Zelensky carried out the destruction of the Nord Stream gas pipelines, not the Russian government as the US Government had claimed and most journalists including myself had reported.