Russia’s Energy Terror

The Situation with Russia’s Missile Attacks on the Energy Sector of Ukraine

 

 

Ivan Sichen

Russia’s failures on the front force it to use other methods to achieve its goals towards Ukraine. In this regard, the most illustrative and dangerous are Moscow’s attempts to destroy our energy system, by inflicting massive missile strikes on critical infrastructure. In this way, the Kremlin seeks to create unbearable living conditions for the Ukrainian population, hoping that this will force the leadership of Ukraine to agree to surrender. Besides, a separate goal of Putin’s regime is complete destruction of our economy as the basis of Ukrainian statehood.

As part of the implementation of such plans, Russia has indeed caused tangible losses to the Ukrainian energy sector. At the same time, Ukrainian specialists are successfully restoring its work. Unfortunately, this is not the end at all, because Moscow will continue to make efforts to achieve its goals. Under the circumstances, we may draw some conclusions and estimate future developments.

 

So, how can we estimate Russia’s actions to destroy critical energy infrastructure of Ukraine?

…Russia’s missile attacks became a logical continuation of its policy of using the energy factor as one of the most effective instruments of pressure on other countries…

Firstly, such actions became a logical continuation of Moscow’s policy of using the energy factor as one of the most effective instruments of pressure on other countries.

Since the collapse of the USSR, this primarily concerns Ukraine, which has a special place in Russia’s geopolitical and economic interests. The RF’s main goal is to restore Russian control over Ukraine and its economy. To this end, Russia is constantly putting pressure on Ukraine and its Western partners in the economic and especially in the energy spheres. In many cases, such pressure takes the form of economic and energy “wars” against Ukraine. Moscow uses a similar policy to other countries from the former USSR.

Note:

In the mid-1990s, Russia raised gas prices for Ukraine, which led to a significant gas debt. As a condition for its repayment, the Kremlin demanded that Ukraine return to the sphere of Russian influence, transfer strategic aircrafts remaining on Ukrainian territory, divide the Black Sea Fleet according to the Moscow version, and allow the Russian Gazprom to get control over the Ukrainian gas transmission system (GTS).

Given the emergence of a critical situation, Ukraine was forced to agree to some of Russia’s demands. For example, strategic aircrafts were sent to the Russian Federation. In addition, the main bases of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, as well as most of its warships, aircrafts and marines, remained under Moscow’s control. All those forces were used by Russia for military pressure on Ukraine, and in 2014 — to seize Crimea as a forward detachment of Russian troops.

At the same time, by manipulating gas prices, Moscow tried to take control of the Ukrainian gas transmission system, which was of strategic importance for Russia as a means of transporting gas to Europe. Along with this, the political-oligarchic groups of the Russian Federation tried to transfer into their ownership other strategic energy facilities of Ukraine, which would provide them with the opportunity to receive additional income, as well as to influence the foreign and domestic policy of Ukraine.

And after the victory of the Orange Revolution in the winter of 2004-2005, Russia moved to full-scale energy pressure on Ukraine and its European partners. Those were Russia’s “gas wars” against Ukraine and the EU in the winter of 2005–2006 and 2008–2009, the aim of which was to disrupt the process of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration, as well as to deepen contradictions between European countries on the basis of their cooperation with Russia in the energy sector..

By the early 2010s, Moscow had achieved some of its goals, which it considered a “strategic victory” over the West and Ukraine. According to the Kremlin at that time, the main such achievements were the access to key energy infrastructure facilities of post-Soviet countries (except for the Ukrainian GTS), the refusal of NATO leadership to grant Ukraine a Membership Action Plan, as well as maintaining Europe’s interest in Russian energy carriers and dependence on them.

Based on the “successes” achieved, Moscow intensified its expansion in the European energy market in order to increase the profits of Russian oligarchs and state budget revenues, as well as to strengthen Russia’s political positions in Europe.

In view of this, Russia began to build a number of new gas pipelines bypassing the territory of Ukraine, including Nord Stream along the bottom of the North Sea, South Stream and Blue Stream along the bottom of the Black Sea, Yamal — Western Europe through Belarus. The main aim of such systems is to be able to increase the volume of Russian gas transportation to Europe, as well as to reduce Russia’s transit dependence on Ukraine.

At the same time, Russia tried to take control of the Ukrainian GTS and other strategic Ukrainian energy infrastructure. In this, Russians were helped by the restoration of pro-Russian power in Ukraine following the presidential elections in the country in 2010.

 

However, the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 and Russia’s attack on Ukraine influenced the situation. Russia began to lose its positions in the energy sector of Europe and de facto lost them in Ukraine.

Thus, in 2014, the European Union and Ukraine intensified measures to reduce their dependence on Russian energy carriers. The most significant of such measures were the organization of reverse gas supplies to Ukraine, as well as the development of the LNG infrastructure in EU countries.

Western sanctions are also a negative factor for the Russian energy sector. At the first stage — after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and organization of the conflict in the Donbas in 2014, they were quite restrained in nature and for the most part provided only for restrictions on foreign investment and a ban on transferring advanced technologies to the Russian side. This led to a decrease in Russian oil and gas exports to the European market. At the second stage — after Moscow’s full-scale war against Ukraine started in 2022, sanctions have become more effective in nature and now also include restrictions on imports of Russian energy carriers by Western countries.

Moscow’s attempts to put pressure on the European NATO countries and the EU in the energy sector also failed. Despite Russia’s reduction in oil and gas exports to Europe, which led to a record increase in their value in the market, Europe did not make concessions to the Kremlin.

 

That is why Russia started a new form of war against Ukraine, which provides for the physical extermination of key objects of its energy infrastructure. First of all, these are missile and bomb strikes on thermal power plants, transformer substations, power lines and water intake and pumping stations. As you know, in the second half of November 2022, such strikes became massive.

Acting in this way, Moscow is trying to undermine Ukraine’s economy completely, causing catastrophic damage to it, as well as to spread panic among the Ukrainian population and create unbearable living conditions for it. According to the Kremlin’s expectations, this could force Ukraine’s leadership to capitulate.

 

…Russia’s moving to massive destruction of energy infrastructure demonstrates the real essence of Putin’s regime and the goals of its war against Ukraine…

Secondly, Russia’s moving to massive destruction of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure demonstrates the real essence of Putin’s regime and the goals of its war against our country. It is openly fascist in nature and seeks to destroy the Ukrainian statehood and nation.

We all remember under what slogans Russia started the war against Ukraine in February 2022. Recall them. The main ones were “ensuring Russia’s security by forcing Kyiv to guarantee giving up joining NATO”, “denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine”, “liberation of the Ukrainian population from the Nazis and nationalists”. Let’s pay special attention to the last slogan.

We all saw online how Russia “liberated” Mariupol, Bucha and Irpin, having turned them into a zone of total destruction with tens of thousands of civilian casualties. We observe what is happening in the “liberated”, or to be more exact — occupied by Russia territories of eastern and southern Ukraine, where repression, violence, murder, robbery and other forms of atrocities against the local population reign. And men are forcibly taken to the Russian army as “cannon fodder”. By the way, it is in the east and south of Ukraine that most of its Russian-speaking citizens live.

Let alone other territories of Ukraine, which are subject to systematic missile strikes by Russian “liberators”. Moreover, they are not at all concerned with the suffering of the civilian population, including children, women and the elderly, whom they allegedly came to liberate.

Besides, the “liberators” deliberately make them suffer. And not only do not try to hide this, but openly declare their goals at the highest level, including in the State Duma of Russia. Missile attacks on the Ukrainian energy infrastructure on the eve of the winter period were called the main goal.

Therefore, Russia’s war against Ukraine, which was previously declared as a “liberating campaign” is already openly recognized by the Kremlin as aimed at destroying Ukrainian statehood and nation. This is true fascism in its worst manifestation — Putin’s rashism.

 

…Large-scale use of terrorist methods against the civilian population of Ukraine confirms Russia’s inability to achieve its goals by militarily methods…

Thirdly, Russia’s large-scale use of terrorist methods against the civilian population of Ukraine confirms Moscow’s inability to achieve its goals towards our country by militarily methods.

At the end of August 2022, Ukraine actually seized the strategic initiative at the front. Since then, it is Ukraine that determines the further course of the war and imposes its will on the enemy. This is evidenced by the successful actions of the Ukrainian troops, which expelled the enemy from the eastern part of Kharkiv region and the right-bank part of Kherson region, and now are conducting local offensive operations in the northwestern part of Luhansk region and in the south of Zaporizhzhia region.

In turn, the enemy has moved to a tough, positional defense on most of the front line, except for certain areas in the Donbas, where it is still trying to attack. However, despite the fact that the main and most capable forces of the Russian army are concentrated there, together with the units of the PMC “Wagner”, they have not achieved any real success for more than four months.

Partial mobilization will hardly help Russia. Conscription into the army of more than 300 thousand people really allows Russia to compensate for the losses of its troops at the front and even increase their numbers. However, their lack of proper training, the necessary weapons and motivation to participate in the war do not make it possible to significantly increase the combat capability of Russian military units. According to Western experts, Russia is no longer able to win on the front. And therefore it will retreat.

At the end of the Second World War, Hitler’s Germany found itself in a similar situation. It tried to change the situation in its favor by launching missile strikes on London and other cities in the UK. Now Putin’s Russia is taking over this experience.

 

…Russia’s crimes against humanity became a catalyst for deepening of the entire civilized world’s cooperation in providing assistance to Ukraine…

Fourthly, Russia’s crimes against humanity in the form of deliberately provoking a humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine caused a sharply negative reaction of the entire civilized world and became a catalyst for deepening its cooperation in providing assistance to our country. This once again confirmed the steadfastness of the positions of Western countries in defending freedom and democracy in the world.

Moscow’s actions to destroy Ukraine’s energy infrastructure are strongly condemned by the leaders of Western countries and the leaderships of the EU and NATO. According to them, this is a war crime and barbarism. At this, emphasis is placed on the need to punish Russia for depriving Ukrainians of electricity and heat, which can be equivalent to the use of weapons of mass destruction.

In the near future, one of the forms of such punishment will be the EU’s ninth sanctions package on Russia, which directly concerns its oil and gas sectors and will deprive Putin’s regime of significant wealth to continue the war against Ukraine. The process of international recognition of Russia as a terrorist country has also begun.

At the same time, the EU leadership has put forward the initiative “Generators of Hope”. Within its framework, more than 200 large European cities have already begun to send power generators to Ukraine for autonomous electricity supply to hospitals, schools, kindergartens and other social institutions. In addition, transformers are being delivered to restore Ukrainian power grids. A separate mechanism for coordinating efforts to assist the Ukrainian energy system has been created by the G7 countries.

Russia’s missile strikes once again point to the need to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense, which can only be done with the help of our Western partners. Currently, is being considered the possibility of moving to the territory of Ukraine two Patriot systems from the Polish Armed Forces, which it received from Germany. While Germany and the United States intend to send an additional number of their own air defense systems to Ukraine. Besides, the United States has provided Ukraine with an additional military assistance in the amount of $400 million.

 

…Russia’s plans for forcing Ukraine to surrender through destructing its energy system have actually failed…

Fifthly, Moscow’s plans for forcing Ukraine to surrender through destructing its energy system have actually failed. Ukrainian society not only did not succumb to Russian blackmail, but got even more united in confronting the aggressor.

Russian missile attacks did cause significant damage to Ukraine’s energy system and put most Ukrainians in a very difficult position. At the same time, contrary to the Kremlin’s expectations, this has not led to irreversible catastrophic consequences for Ukraine’s energy system, panic, anti-government moods among the Ukrainian population, or the citizens’ demands to stop resistance to Russia.

Ukraine’s energy system began to work again a day after a Russian missile attacks. Yes, not fully, not everywhere and with significant interruptions, but it is still functioning. And now it is restored with the help of our Western partners.

Of course, Russia will continue terrorist attacks against Ukraine’s energy system. However, no Russians’ missile strikes will be able to break the Ukrainian nation. We will rebuild everything destroyed by Moscow and will not make concessions to it, no matter how hard our life is.

And this is the main conclusion of the article.

 

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