Friday, 18 November 2022 — Moon of Alabama
The careful destruction of energy systems in Ukraine continues.
From today’s clobber list as provided by the Defense Ministry of Russia:
On 17 November, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation launched a concentrated strike, using high-precision long-range air-, sea- and ground-based weapons, at the facilities of military control, defence industry, as well as related fuel and energy infrastructure of Ukraine.
The goals of the strike have been reached.
All the missiles have accurately stricken the assigned facilities. I have no idea if the last line is true but it does not matter much.
The targeting of 330 kilovolt transformers in various switching stations has cut some 50% of the distribution capability of Ukraine’s electricity network. These transformers weigh up to 200 tons. There are no replacements. You do not buy them at the next corner but will have order them with years of lead time. As far as I can tell Russia is currently Russia the only producer of transformers of that type.
Isn’t it a war crime to destroy the infrastructure that supplies civilians?
It depends. If the infrastructure is used exclusively for civilian purpose the destruction is illegal. But the electricity and transport infrastructure in Ukraine is used for civilian AND military purposes. In a recent Politico piece Ukrainian officials are even confirming that:
An unreliable energy sector could have deadly consequences, Ukrainian officials say. In recent conversations, they’ve added that it could halt food production and transport operations —
critical services needed to support military operations. The clobber list also includes this curious item:
The strike has resulted in the neutralisation of the production capacities for nuclear weaponry.
I wonder where and what that has been:
One depot of artillery armament, delivered by western countries and prepared for being sent to troops, has been destroyed.
The redeployment of the reserve forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), and the delivery of foreign armament to operations areas have been frustrated. The last sentence describes the real purpose of the attacks on the energy systems.
The lack of energy is degrading the railway network that brings weapons from the west to the eastern front. It makes redeployment of units from one front section to another very difficult and time consuming. It will give the Russian forces the advantage when they change the Schwerpunkt of their attacks from one corner of the frontline to another.
Another effect of the strikes on the electricity systems and the blackouts in the big cities that follow them is a renewed stream of refugees that will want reach western Europe. It will over time change the public opinion and the political priorities of those countries. If they fail to end the war they will have to carry the burden.