ANALYSIS – In his Twitter Spaces debut Tuesday night, called “Tucker on Twitter,” former Fox News host Tucker Carlson immediately accused Ukraine of being responsible for the catastrophic attack on the Nova Kakhovka dam in Southern Ukraine.
And he may be right.
Ukraine and Russia have routinely accused each other of shelling the dam, the hydroelectric station and the nearby Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.
Both sides have blamed the other for the attack, in what appears to be a war crime. Kyiv blamed Moscow for the “terrorist attack,” but the Kremlin claimed that Ukraine had struck the dam to impact Russian-controlled Crimea’s water supplies.
As Newsweek reported, that is part of Tucker’s claim, too.
And, despite his spotty track record on speculation, in this case, he may be right. Or at least, the assumption that Russia is always the culprit is no longer valid.
Based on recent reporting, which I wrote about here, Ukraine may, in fact, have been responsible for the serious sabotage of the Nord Stream undersea gas pipelines in September 2022, which was long blamed on Russia.
This makes the always-blame Russia crowd look less credible. But that doesn’t mean Tucker’s always-blame-everyone-except-Russia approach is any better.
While on Fox, Tucker repeatedly blamed the United States and Joe Biden for being behind the Nord Stream attack.
On Feb. 24 he said: “So the Biden administration committed the single largest most profound act of industrial terrorism of sabotaging history. They blew up the Nord Stream pipeline …”
And that has always been a stretch. Instead, The Post reporting today reinforces my earlier conclusion that it is “likely, the U.S. was aware but turned a blind eye.”
Thus, as far as we can tell, Biden knew about it beforehand but was unwilling or unable to do anything about it.
Tucker’s claims aren’t helped when he spouts pro-Russian talking points in his video, such as:
The Kakhovka dam was effectively Russian. It was built by the Russian government. It currently sits in Russian- controlled territory. The dam’s reservoir supplies water to Crimea, which has been for the last 240 years home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
Firstly, the ‘Soviets’ built the dam during the USSR, not the ‘Russians,’ and the USSR no longer exists. Secondly, it doesn’t matter how long Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was based in Crimea; it belongs to Ukraine because that’s what happened when the USSR dissolved in 1991 and Ukraine became independent.
Tucker’s Trumpian personal insults, like describing Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, as a “sweaty and rat-like comedian-turned-oligarch,” probably don’t help his credibility much either.
Tucker is on firmer ground when he argues that: “Blowing up the dam may be bad for Ukraine, but it hurts Russia more, and for precisely that reason, the Ukrainian government has considered destroying it.”
Especially when he cites a December report from The Washington Post in which a Ukrainian general spoke of using U.S.-made HIMARS launchers to “test strike” on the Kakhovka dam.
So, what are the facts?
The dam spanning the Dnipro River was breached on Tuesday, flooding swaths of territory and threatening crucial water supplies to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
At least 42,000 people and 1,500 square miles of land are at risk from the flooding caused by the destruction of the dam, likely slowing any potential Ukrainian military advance in the Dnipro River delta.
Much of the Dnipro River delta will become inaccessible for land operations, raising suspicions that Russia deliberately sabotaged the dam to prevent an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive.
However, the flooding has disproportionately affected the Russian-occupied side of the river.
The Kakhovka reservoir does supply Russian-occupied Kherson Oblast and the Crimea peninsula with fresh water.
Zelensky has said that the only way to destroy the dam is through mining and explosives and emphasized that Russian forces have now occupied the dam for over a year.
In a statement, Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command said, “Russian occupation troops blew up the dam” at Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region.
Blaming “Russian terrorists” for the attack, Zelensky said on Twitter that “the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam only confirms for the whole world that they must be expelled from every corner of Ukrainian land.”
In the end, Tucker may be right. Ukraine could have been behind the attack.
But he is far more credible when he is less bombastic and emphatic with his theories. Such as when he states:
So really, once the facts start coming in, it becomes much less of a mystery what might have happened to the dam, and a fair person would conclude that the Ukrainians probably blew it up, just as you would assume they blew up Nord Stream, the Russian natural gas pipeline last fall.
Tucker ended his new Twitter show by promising to be back with “much more, very soon.” I’m looking forward to it.
Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of Great America News Desk.