The Russian Federation, which a number of countries and the European Parliament have already recognized as a sponsor of terrorism, has chosen a new tactic in the war — shelling of critical infrastructure of Ukraine. First of all — power system facilities. We will analyze in more detail why the aggressor is doing this and whether the Kremlin will achieve its goals.
To drive Ukrainians into the cold and darkness
Russia launched several large-scale missile strikes on Ukraine’s energy system, destroying almost half of the relevant infrastructure. Kyiv, as well as the Kyiv and Odesa regions felt it the most, but significant problems are observed throughout the country.
Each such attack costs the aggressor country hundreds of millions of dollars. At the same time, strikes on the power system do not produce any significant military results, mostly causing problems for the civilian population due to periodic lack of heat and light.
The first and obvious goal is to provoke internal pressure on President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi to agree to negotiations. In recent months, against the background of regular defeats at the front, the Russian Federation has been constantly hinting at the need for negotiations, considering the Ukrainian side to sit down at the negotiating table in order to at least preserve the already captured territories, as well as to gain time to accumulate strength.
Another goal is to create an illusion among Europeans of a potential large wave of refugees from Ukraine. It is likely, according to Kremlin strategists, which the population of the EU countries will begin to put pressure on their political elites, and they, in turn, will incline Ukraine to negotiations, probably by threatening to stop military aid.
American weekly online news magazine Newsweek publishes information with reference to the international non-profit organization Mercy Corps that the Ukrainian energy system may be destroyed by Christmas.
The effectiveness of Ukrainian air defense and energy workers
Under current conditions, Ukrainian air defense systems are working perfectly. In particular, during the eighth major shelling, which took place on December 5, 2022, approximately 90% of the missiles fired at Ukraine were shot down, as stated by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi.
In addition, Ukrainian energy workers work in difficult conditions 24/7, preventing blackouts. Even in the most affected regions by the rocket attacks, a few days after the shelling, most houses go into scheduled blackouts.
Indeed, it is currently impossible to completely restore the domestic energy system. The CEO of the Ukrainian energy company YASNO, Serhii Kovalenko, said on the air of the national telethon that the planned shutdowns will be avoided no earlier than mid-spring:
«It’s important to understand when we’re going to abandon the schedules altogether and have 100% light. By the end of March, the base case scenario that will be good for us if we go through the winter and early spring in the stabilization schedules.»
It is worth noting separately the work of «Ukrzaliznytsia». The national railway carrier, which had many complaints about its operation before the full-scale invasion, prepared well for the hard times.
An illustrative fact: during the shelling of the Ukrainian energy industry, not a single long-distance train was canceled. In the absence of electricity supply, their movement, albeit with delays, is provided by diesel locomotives.
The scenario with heavy blows to the energy infrastructure at state-owned joint-stock company «Ukrzaliznytsia» was considered back in the summer. Then a number of measures were developed in case of insidious enemy attacks.
The press center of «Ukrzaliznytsia» informed The Ukrainian Review:
«The area of centrally heated industrial premises has been reduced, all stations are equipped with generators and boilers. In total, we produced 9,200 small pots and accumulated 15,000 cubic meters of firewood at our own facilities.»
«So, if necessary, Ukrzaliznytsia is ready to deploy stationary heating points at all 92 railway stations within an hour. If necessary, the largest 16 stations can turn into real «Fortresses of invincibility» within an hour. Here, people will be able to warm up, charge their gadgets and use the Internet, which is connected via Starlink,» — said the representatives of the national carrier.
In addition to the financial assistance that Ukraine will receive for the restoration of its energy sector, a number of countries have announced other ways of support.
In case of need Ukraine can get electricity from Europe. The state energy trader «Energy Company of Ukraine» carried out test imports from Romania and Slovakia.
The same Slovakia agreed to another aid package to Ukraine, which provides for the provision of about 300 generators to Ukraine.
Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili also announced the purchase of generators.
The Turkish company Karpowership announced that they are ready to send power plant ships to the Odesa port. Technical and security aspects are currently being discussed.
«We are discussing with the Odesa region and the Ukrainian company Ukrenergo the placement of three power plants near Odesa with a total capacity of 300 megawatts,» — said Zeynep Harezi, Chief Commercial Officer of Karpowership.
Points of Invincibility
Adversity unites. After the attacks on critical infrastructure, Points of Invincibility were opened throughout the territory of Ukraine. In them you can recharge your gadgets, warm up, drink hot tea with cookies and just chat.
The number of such points is constantly increasing, so it is difficult to name a specific number now. But as of the first decade of December, more than 5,500 of them were opened.
You can find out the location and detailed information by following the link on the official website.
We note that similar heating points opened by political parties and businesses function separately.
Stockpiles of Russian missiles
It should also be understood that the number of high-precision missiles in Russia is limited. This, in particular, was stated by the head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine Kyrylo Budanov on the air of the national telethon:
«I don’t think it’s necessary to repeat it again. In reality, they have a few more large-scale attacks left and they will reach zero. Are they ready to reach zero? As we can see, they are confidently going for it. As for the production of new ones, it is quite limited. Only a few types of high-precision missile weapons are produced.»
In military circles, it is noted that the Russian Federation produces about 40 missiles per month. Since the beginning of the war against Ukraine, Russia has allegedly produced 240 Kh-101 precision cruise missiles and about 120 Kalibr missiles.
This is about half of what flies over Ukraine during one large-scale shelling.
Summing up, we can conclude that the Ukrainian energy system of Russia is not up to scratch. Yes, missile strikes create temporary difficulties mainly for the civilian population. At the same time, they significantly weaken the offensive potential of the Russian army. Under the conditions of financial and military support from the West, the consequences for Ukraine will not be critical.
The war against the civilian population did not produce the expected results. It is obvious to the whole world that the Russian Federation failed to achieve its goal — to force the leadership of Ukraine to start negotiations on the terms of the Kremlin.