Major Russian Military Tactic Failing in Ukraine: UK

Major Russian Military Tactic Failing in Ukraine: UK

Russia stepped up its drone attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure throughout February, but the airstrikes failed to severely damage Ukraine’s power grid, according to the British Ministry of Defense (MoD).

In an intelligence update Monday, U.K.’s MoD said that Russia undertook a “campaign” of one-way unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against Ukrainian infrastructure last month, including Kyiv’s electrical power network. The drone strikes took place across Ukraine, and damage to local power infrastructure was reported in the Donetsk, Dnipro and Lviv regions.

But while Moscow’s goal was likely to “degrade industrial activities in Ukraine,” British military intelligence said Ukraine’s “power network is maintaining stable network operations” as of Monday. The attacks mimic Russia’s rampage on Ukraine’s power grid last year, which led to rolling blackouts across the country during the brutal winter months.

Electricity workers wearing bulletproof vests and helmets fix a destroyed power line on December 1, 2022, in Kherson, Ukraine. Despite Russia’s increased attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure last month, Kyiv’s power grid has remained strong,…

Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Newsweek reached out to Russia’s defense ministry via email for comment on Monday.

Researchers at Yale School of Public Health’s Humanitarian Research Lab released a report last week that documented 223 instances of damage to the Ukrainian power infrastructure over the past year, noting that the damage was consistent with a “widespread and systematic effort to cripple vital power generation and transmission infrastructure across Ukraine.”

The report’s intention, according to Yale News, is to hold Russia accountable for its targeting of Ukraine’s energy grid, which could implicate a violation of international humanitarian law.

“The fact of the matter is, especially in Ukraine in the winter, electrical power is essential … in international law, the term is means necessary for survival,” Nathaniel Raymond, executive director at the Yale lab, said during a briefing at the U.S. State Department on Monday.

Raymond added during the event that while reports of attacks on Ukraine’s electrical grid cannot alone prove that Russia has violated humanitarian laws during its war against Ukraine, the data is “consistent that a crime may have occurred.”

Russia’s energy infrastructure, meanwhile, has taken a hit in light of Western-imposed sanctions and Kyiv’s increased attacks on Moscow’s oil hubs and refineries over the past year. A spokesperson for Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told local media last week that the Kremlin will impose a six-month ban on gasoline exports starting on May 1 to “offset the booming demand for petroleum products.”

Oil exports and the energy industry make up roughly 30 percent of Russia’s budget revenue and play a critical role in funding the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine.

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