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

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

Viral video of the Kakhovka Dam explosion (photo: DW)
Viral video of the Kakhovka Dam explosion (photo: DW)


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, a Ukrainian nongovernmental organization estimates. According to the the World Data Center for Geoinformatics and Sustainable Development 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 overflowing on social media.

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

DW 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 reveal that the video shown is already from 2022. On November 12, several media reported on an explosion at the Kakhovka dam. At that time, retreating Russian troops had destroyed parts of the dam. Satellite 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 and must therefore be considered misleading in this context.

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