Russia Intensifying “Moral and Psychological Pressure” On Civilians – As Russian forces continue to retreat from both northeastern and southeastern Ukraine, Ukrainian military officials claimed on Thursday that the Russian military is ramping up psychological pressure on civilians.
According to an update from Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command, Russian forces are deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure and depending almost entirely on remote missile and artillery fire.
“The enemy’s main efforts are focusing on holding occupied territories as well as assigning maximum losses to our troops by using the tactics of remote missile and artillery fire, air strikes,” an update shared on Facebook reads.
“The enemy intensifies moral and psychological pressure on civilians and launches missile strikes on social, industrial and critical infrastructure objections,” the update continues, adding that the Russian military is continuing its efforts to replenish supplies, manpower, equipment, and weapons over the Dnipro River.
“Our missile and artillery units maintain fire control over all crossings, locations of their preferred equipment and other alternative ways of moving across rivers,” it continues.
The news is good and bad for Ukraine. On the one hand, Russia is on the back foot. Ukraine has severely hindered Russia’s ability to resupply its troops in the south, destroying bridges over the Dnipro River and cutting away at the land bridge established by the Russians between Donbas and Crimea. On the other hand, Russia is growing increasingly desperate, and while attacks on civilian infrastructure have been commonplace throughout the war, they appear to be increasing in severity and brutality.
Russia Strikes Damn In Central Ukraine
Struggling on the battlefield, Russia’s attacks on civilian infrastructure have gone well beyond medical buildings and apartment buildings – though those are bad enough – and now include large structures. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy revealed on Wednesday how the Ukrainian military launched strikes at a major damn in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih. In his nightly address, Zelenskyy said that the Russians purposely targeted the Karachunivske Reservoir, despite the fact that it has no military value.
The Russian strikes destroyed a water pumping station, which caused the embankments to flood. Residential buildings surrounded those embankments, and emergency service workers were forced to work overnight to secure the area.
As a result of the strikes, water spilled out from the reservoir and into the Inhulets River, a tributary of the Dnipro River. Strikes like this not only cause a risk of flooding in residential areas in Ukraine, but also risk depriving communities across central Ukraine of a reliable supply of fresh water.
In his address, Zelenskyy accused Moscow of being “weaklings” and slammed the Kremlin for “waging war on civilians.”
“Your missile attacks today, Russian missiles targeting Kryvyi Rih, the dam of the Karachunivske Reservoir, the objects that have no military value at all, in fact hitting hundreds of thousands of ordinary civilians, is another reason why Russia will lose. And not just this war, but history itself,” Zelenskyy said.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.