Attack on Ukraine Dam Sparks Blame Game

Welcome back to World Brief, where we’re looking at the catastrophic destruction of Ukraine’s Kakhovka dam, Iran’s first hypersonic missile, and a golf merger between the U.S. PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s LIV Golf.

Welcome back to World Brief, where we’re looking at the catastrophic destruction of Ukraine’s Kakhovka dam, Iran’s first hypersonic missile, and a golf merger between the U.S. PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s LIV Golf.

The largest ecological catastrophe of Russia’s war in Ukraine erupted early Tuesday morning, and no one quite knows whose fault it is. Around 4.8 billion gallons of water flooded into southern Ukraine after an explosion caused a breach in a Russian-controlled dam, located near the city of Nova Kakhovka. The facility, which was built in 1956 along the Dnipro river as part of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, is essential to the region’s potable water supplies. It’s also vital for cooling Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest such plant in Europe and which is currently controlled by Russian forces.

Both Russian and Ukrainian officials have accused the other side of being behind the attack. The Kremlin blamed “Ukrainian sabotage” for the destruction, whereas Kyiv said Russia destroyed the dam to hinder Ukraine’s much-anticipated counteroffensive. “The destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam only confirms for the whole world that [Russians] must be expelled from every corner of Ukrainian land,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Telegram. U.S. and other Western intelligence agencies are still working to figure out who was responsible, but NBC News reported that the U.S. government “has intelligence that is leaning toward Russia as the culprit” and that the Biden administration was “working to declassify some of the intelligence.”

Whoever was behind the attack, both Russia and Ukraine stand to suffer from the fallout. “Nearly 40,000 people reside in at-risk flooding zones in both Russian-held and Ukrainian-held territories by the dam, leaving officials scrambling to dispatch trains and buses to evacuate thousands of civilians,” FP’s Robbie Gramer, Christina Lu, and Brawley Benson reported. “The dam contained an amount of water comparable to Utah’s Great Salt Lake—around 18 million cubic meters of water—and its rupture threatens to wreak havoc on agriculture in southern Ukraine and water supplies to Crimea, of which it had been a major delivery channel.”

There is also concern about the breach’s impact on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said it was monitoring the situation closely, but at this time, there was “no immediate nuclear safety risk.”

Introducing Fattah. Iran unveiled its first domestically made hypersonic missile on Tuesday to the condemnation of Western leaders. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said the new weapon—named Fattah, or “Conqueror” in Farsi—has a range of around 870 miles and can fly at least five times faster than the speed of sound. “It can bypass the most advanced anti-ballistic missile systems of the United States and the Zionist regime, including Israel’s Iron Dome,” Iranian state media reported. Western analysts say Iran’s claims are often exaggerated, and no footage was released of a successful test of the missile.

Tehran said it will continue to develop its missile capabilities despite U.S. and European opposition. Concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile program contributed in part to the Trump administration’s 2018 decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, in the hope that it could negotiate a “better” agreement that would also include stricter restrictions on Iran’s missiles. So far, no such pact has been reached.

A hole-in-one for Saudi golf. After a year of intense litigation, the U.S. PGA Tour and Saudi LIV Golf organizations signed a merger agreement on Tuesday. The deal would combine the commercial businesses and rights of both enterprises under one larger for-profit golf company. Ownership of the European PGA Tour would also fall under this new, yet to-be-named organization. The merger is expected to be finalized in the next few weeks.

LIV Golf is financed by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, which is controlled by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Not only has the fund faced antitrust lawsuits from the PGA Tour over the last 12 months, but the entity has also been accused of “sportswashing”—using its financing of sports to improve the reputation of the Saudi government, which faces numerous accusations of human rights violations.

Earthquake and floods in Haiti. A preliminary 4.9-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on Tuesday, killing at least four people and injuring nearly 40 others. It came on the heels of heavy rainfall that killed at least 42 people and destroyed more than 13,000 homes over the weekend. Casualty numbers of both events are expected to rise—especially in western Haiti, where aid workers are rushing to provide victims with food, drinking water, and shelter.

These are just the latest in a long line of natural disasters to hit the impoverished island nation, including deadly earthquakes in January 2010 and August 2021. And they will likely only worsen the country’s already unprecedented humanitarian crisis, characterized by acute hunger, a cholera epidemic, gang violence, and the “political and economic corruption that enable them,” argued Robert Muggah, co-founder of the Igarapé Institute, in Foreign Policy.

A multimillionaire in Finland was fined one of the world’s costliest speeding tickets in history on Tuesday after driving 18.6 miles per hour over the limit. In Finland, a ticket or “day fine” is determined based on a percentage of the driver’s income, specifically half of their daily net income. For 76-year-old businessman Anders Wiklof, that meant a fine of almost $130,000. “It’s how it goes,” he said, adding that he hoped the government would spend the money on improving health care in Finland.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post The Horn of Africa States Geopolitical Analysis: Half-Way Through the Year 2023 😀
Next post Uganda forces death toll at 54 after Somalia attack