The ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment of June 16, 2023 carried the following report:
Select current and former Russian municipal officials signed an open letter calling on the Russian forces to return to the “universally” recognized Russian borders due to the crisis caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (KHPP) dam.
Municipal officials from Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as Moscow and Leningrad oblasts signed the document, which argued that the destruction of the KHPP dam will affect the ecosystem of the planet, health issues, and the economy for many decades.
The letter stated that Putin’s actions since Feb. 24, 2022 have caused unspecified catastrophic events but did not cite continued Russian military operations in Ukraine as a reason for the withdrawal of Russian forces.
Non-Kremlin aligned Russian officials may be using public concern about the environmental and humanitarian situation associated with the destruction of the KHPP dam to voice opposition to the war in Ukraine without directly criticizing the war effort itself.
The Kremlin has widely set the conditions for crackdowns against anti-war dissent. Russians who hold anti-war sentiments may use the destruction of the KHPP to voice their opposition to the war in a very limited fashion.
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