Russian authorities opted against investigating accidents due to “military actions” and terrorism at hazardous sites, including occupied territories in Ukraine, one week before such a mega accident
One week before the explosion at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, Russian authorities issued a directive not to investigate accidents at hazardous sites due to “military actions” and acts of terrorism, including in Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine, the Russian media Insider reported.
The document, dated 30 May 2023, was published on the official internet portal of legal information. The resolution, signed by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, entered into force on the day of its publication, i.e., 31 May.
The Russian government resolution No. 873 “On the peculiarities of the application in the territories of the ‘DNR,’ ‘LNR,’ Zaporizhzhia Oblast, and Kherson Oblast of the provisions of the legislation of the Russian Federation in the fields of industrial safety of hazardous production facilities and safety of hydraulic structures,” includes a key clause regarding accidents. According to it, “until 1 January 2028, a technical investigation of accidents at hazardous production facilities and accidents of hydraulic structures, resulting from military actions, sabotage, and terrorist acts, is not conducted.”
The document also contains provisions stating that until 1 September 2023, and until 1 March 2024, some points of the federal law “On the industrial safety of hazardous production facilities” and “On the safety of hydraulic structures” are not applied in the “DNR, LNR,” in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Oblasts.
On 6 June, the dam of the Kakhovka hydropower plant was destroyed, unleashing 18 cubic kilometers of water and putting 16,000 people at risk of flooding. Ukraine accused Russia of destroying the dam and launched an investigation into ecocide. Meanwhile, Russia alleged that the incident was caused by Ukrainian shelling, but the inconsistent messaging of Russian sources challenges those claims.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant could be affected by the incident, but the head of Ukraine’s nuclear agency Enerhoatom stated that the situation is currently not critical.