Dam’s Destruction Reshapes Ukraine, but Not Arc of the War

“This will have a certain impact as the landscape of the future battlefield has changed significantly and even the front line itself has changed,” Natalia Humeniuk, the spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern military command, told local news outlets. “But this is not a critical change.”

The military had weighed the possibility that Russia would blow up the dam, she added. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has warned of the same.

The flood will have little effect on Ukraine’s counteroffensive, as its military never intended to make fighting along the river a major part of the overall campaign, Mykhailo Samus, director of the Army, Conversion and Disarmament Center, a military research organization in Kyiv, said in a telephone interview.

Ukraine’s threats of a riverine assault were designed to force Russia to deploy troops away from the main area of attack, he said. “Before the flood we needed to cross the Dnipro and after the flood it is the same, just harder,” he said. “Auxiliary and diversionary maneuvers can still be conducted.”

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