April 16, 2024

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Why Russia is targeting electricity and energy facilities again

Why Russia is targeting electricity and energy facilities again

Russian strikes “severely” damaged three Ukrainian thermal power plants overnight from Thursday to Friday. Six people were injured and power was cut in ten regions.

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Strikes that could cause Ukraine to lose power. Three Ukrainian thermal power plants suffered significant damage after massive Russian strikes on Friday March 29, injuring six people. said national operator Ukrenergo “There is an urgent need to make cuts [de courant] till evening” Due to the three regions “Lack of Productivity” Electricity. The Ukrainian Energy Minister had previously said “The Great Attack” It targeted energy production sites in Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava and Cherkassy regions. of “Controls” There were already two in the region after previous blasts.

In recent weeks, Moscow has stepped up its airstrikes against Ukraine, firing dozens of missiles and launching dozens of explosive drones at the stricken country's energy infrastructure. kyiv already suffered a major bombing campaign against its power installations in 2022 and 2023, but fared well due to strong anti-aircraft defenses. Francinfo explains to you why the Russians are hitting such targets again.

To “punish” Ukraine

Moscow justified its strikes in response to attacks by Kyiv in Russia in recent weeks. On March 23, two civilians were killed and several others injured in a drone strike in the Russian region of Belgorod, which borders Ukraine. The city of Belgorod was targeted by rocket launcher attacks, damaging several residential buildings. Kyiv has also targeted Russian oil refineries and other energy facilities in the region.

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On the same day, Russia said it had repelled an attack by ten Ukrainian missiles aimed at Sevastopol in Crimea, a peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014. The next day, Ukraine said it had attacked two Russian ships in the Black Sea. “Ukrainian armed forces were able to attack the Yamal and Azov amphibious ships, as well as the communications center and other infrastructure of the Russian Black Sea Fleet”Ukrainian Armed Forces are mentioned.

Targeting energy infrastructure is strategic. “In a strike campaign, for it to be effective, you have to focus on a specific objective. If you spray your strikes all over the place, there won't be much effect.”Michel Goya, military historian, explained to franceinfo.

“Since the end of 2022, the Russians have focused especially on the Ukrainian energy and electricity network, because it is the country's nerve system. It disrupts all economic life.”

Michael Coya, Military Historian

At franceinfo

After his re-election, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the Ukrainian attacks in Russia as an attempt to terrorize residents and derail the election he won. He promised to respond, he recalled Associated Press.

To further weaken Ukrainian air defenses

These Russian strikes are also aimed at complementing the Ukrainian defense, which has been under tension for months. “This is especially dependent on equipment like buck batteries and S-300s.”, Michael Goya explains. gold, “These batteries are from the Soviet era and are very complicated to refuel. They are not manufactured in Europe. [occidentale] and Eastern European countries have already contributed”, Ex-soldier explains.

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In 2023, Ukraine's allies have well-provided patriotic defense systems. But they ran out of ammunition. “There are batteries, but no more missiles. So defense cannot cover all attacks”, continues Michel Goya. While waiting for new deliveries, Ukrainians are searching “Fire old Western missiles like Hawk missiles with Soviet batteries”, Explains the expert.

For months, Kyiv has been asking its Western allies for more help. President Volodymyr Zelensky, who traveled to the United States on Thursday, warned “The Spectacular Increase in Russian Air Terrorism”. But Democratic President Joe Biden's $60 billion in U.S. aid has been blocked for months by a Republican Congress that supports Donald Trump. On the Brussels side, political divisions have blocked arms deliveries and financial transfers in recent months.

To advance on the ground

Although strikes are distinct from ground operations, the success of one facilitates the success of the other. “Large depth strikes, for example, can help disable the ground command system”, continues Michel Goya. However, Russian forces have been entrenched in eastern Ukraine for weeks, most notably with the fall of the fortress city of Avdiivka in mid-February. In March, they claimed to have captured the village of Nevelske (already under Russian control) near the city of Donetsk. They also claimed that Orlivka and Ivanivske, near Pakhmud, had been captured.

Ukraine is also having trouble recruiting new soldiers, as the Kremlin has transitioned to a war economy, devoting much of its budget and industry to military production. Moscow also ensures that tens of thousands of men sign contracts to join the army each month.

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