Putin Vows to Keep Destroying Ukrainian Energy Infrastructure: Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to continue his military’s assault on Ukrainian energy this week, pledging to continue directing attacks at the country’s essential electricity and water infrastructure. The Russian president doubled down during a speech at an awards ceremony held in the Kremlin, suggesting that the attacks were the fault of the Ukrainian government.
Putin recognized that there is a “lot of noise” about his military’s bombardment of residential and energy infrastructure but appeared to justify it as a response to Ukraine’s attack on the Kerch Bridge.
“There is a lot of noise about our strikes on the neighbor country’s energy infrastructure. Yes, we’re doing it — but who started it? Who attacked the Crimean Bridge?” Putin said, listing other Ukrainian strikes on Russian-controlled territories.
“Who blew up the transmission lines to the Kursk NPP, who cut off the water supply to Donetsk? Cutting off water for millions of people is an act of genocide. No one anywhere said a word about this — everyone’s completely mum. As soon as we stir a little to do something in response — there’s a huge uproar the world over.”
The Russian president also argued that the attacks on energy infrastructure were not a tactic to avoid deploying untrained soldiers to the battlefield where they may ultimately succumb to Ukrainian defensive forces. Instead, Putin said that the ongoing missile and drone strike campaigns would “not interfere with our combat missions.”
Ukraine Racing to fix Infrastructure As It’s Destroyed
Ukrainian authorities are rushing to fix energy infrastructure destroyed in Russian strikes in the hope of staving off a total energy crisis as temperatures drop below zero. In a report from NPR, DTEK energy company manager Yurii Herasko said that his workers “have a lot of work to do.”
“We’re always working, 24/7. We have to be prepared for the winter,” Herasko said.
The most recent strike on energy infrastructure occurred on Monday, when Russian missiles directed at Ukrainian cities were intercepted in huge numbers by Ukrainian forces – though almost a dozen missiles hit their intended targets and caused widespread blackouts. The blackouts also extended outside of Ukraine for a second time, once again impacting Moldova.
Despite Ukraine’s efforts to restore energy production and distribution, however, Russian strikes have been so widespread and intense that the country is on the verge of a blackout without support for repairing high-voltage power transformers.
Energy Community director Artur Lorkowski told ForeignPolicy.com that the transformers are hard to find in Europe and must now be manufactured.
“The biggest needs at the moment are linked to the repair of high-voltage power transformers, which can be rarely found in Europe. The few that are available in Europe fall short of covering Ukraine’s needs,” Lorkowski explained, adding that they could take between six and 18 months to manufacture in sufficient numbers.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.