However, the striking thing about the White House reaction to the event from John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council, is that he tactfully avoided endorsingUkraine President Vladimir Zelensky's finger-pointing at the Russians.
Kirby said, "We've seen the reports that Russia was responsible… We're doing the best we can to assess those reports. And we are working with the Ukrainians to gather more information. But we cannot say conclusively what happened at this point…"
Kirby wouldn't be drawn onto a turf that fools only enter, where angels fear to tread. And, interestingly, his remark has been on similar lines as UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's also — "it's too early to say definitively." Sunak, who was en route to Washington on June 6, said the UK defence intelligence is to "thoroughly investigate" with the aim of establishing who was responsible for the catastrophe.
Of course, it is entirely conceivable that Britain will eventually find a way to somehow put the blame on Russia. But for the present, it has nothing concrete in hand to vilify Moscow.
Indeed, what complicates matters is that by the classical Latin canon cui bono (for whose benefit?) about identifying crime suspects, both Ukraine and Russia can be deemed as "winners" or "losers" alike. This needs explaining.
Take Ukraine first. It is a winner as Russia apparently shot itself in the foot by destroying the dam, since the topography of the place is such that it is the lower eastern side of the Dnieper in the Kherson region, which the Russians held, that are more affected by the flood. Second, the flood has washed away the mines and much of the fortifications Russians had painstakingly prepared to prevent a large-scale Ukrainian offensive. The Ukrainian forces would now get an open path, arguably, when the flood abates.