Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Russia Hits Critical Ukrainian Infra Crippling Thermal & Electricity Grids; Is It Barbaric Or Quintessential Modern Warfare?

Russia’s punishing attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure on October 10, 2022, are being widely criticized in the West as “barbaric.” In one day, Russia crippled 30% of Ukraine’s thermal generation and 15% of its electricity generation capacities. 

“It is horrific that Russia is directly targeting civilians and critical infrastructure for civilians,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said when asked by a reporter about the attack.

Initially, many analysts believed that the attack was demonstrative; it would not be sustained. President Putin, who linked the Russian attacks to Ukrainian terrorist attacks on Russian infrastructure, hinted as much when he warned that if Ukraine persists with terrorist attacks against Russian infrastructure, Russia’s response would be harsh and proportionate to the threat level posed to the Russian Federation. The remark seemed to imply that the attack would be repeated only if Ukraine persisted.

Some analysts believed that Russia would be unable to sustain the attack because of its limited stock of long-range precision weapons. They believe Western sanctions have crippled Russia’s ability to continue the production of cruise missiles and guided weapons.

However, on October 11, 2022, Russia struck again and earnestly suggested a change of tack to move towards its military goals – it would continue to attack critical Ukrainian infrastructure – Power generation, Command centers, and GLOC (Ground Lines of Communication).

How Barbaric Are Infrastructure Attacks?

Despite Western assertions, there is no evidence that Russia targeted civilians, though some missiles struck civilian areas because of inaccuracy.

Indeed, Russia made a great effort to reduce civilian casualties – the strike took place in the morning, before work hours! An estimated 10-20 civilian deaths during such a massive attack suggest civilians were not targeted.

Russia Kyiv attack
Russian attacks in Kyiv (Twitter)

The EU’s foreign policy chief tweeted, “Deeply shocked by Russia’s attacks on civilians in #Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine. Such acts have no place in the 21st century.”

Was That An Accurate Assessment?

EurAsian Times spoke with Lt. Gen. JS Bajwa (Retd.), former DG Infantry. We asked him if infrastructure attacks were justified.

General Bajwa says limiting the war only to soldiers on the frontline is medieval warfighting.

“From the reaction of the West in the media and even in the UNGA, the opinion seems to be that this war should be fought like a medieval war with skirmishes and clashes limited to soldiers confronting each other on the battlefield. Infrastructure and cities and civilians are to be considered not being a part of the war!!” he said.

General Bajwa feels the Ukrainian war is being orchestrated by the US, EU, and the UK, citing the complete lack of diplomacy on the part of the West.

He believes Russia must continue its infrastructure attacks, “The adage – all is fair in love and war stands. Russia allowed Ukraine a lot of breathing space. From the word go, Russia should have targeted the command and control centers and vital infrastructure, and Zelenskyy should have been in the crosshairs. There was no need to have been considerate.”

Scott Ritter, a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, UN weapons inspector, and independent military analyst, quoted by Sputnik, says:

“So anybody who criticizes Russia’s approach as an assault on civilian infrastructure, an assault on civilians, simply speaking, doesn’t know anything about the war, the laws of war, and if you’re an American making this [claim] or an American ally, then you’re a hypocrite. Because this is the same approach the United States took against Iraq in 1991.”

Western hypocrisy is undeniable. The intensity of the Russian military’s attack on Monday, eight months after the start of the SMO, was just a fraction of the intensity of US military infrastructure attacks on the opening day of the 1990-91 Gulf War.

Scott Ritter states, “Many military people like himself expected Moscow to target infrastructure from day one.”

The Need For Infrastructure Attacks

Not attacking critical infrastructure in modern warfare makes no sense. The warfighting ability of a nation is heavily based on its infrastructure. Restricting strikes to military targets near the contact line would lead to a protracted war with unpredictable consequences.

Russia Kyiv attack
Russian attack on Kyiv infrastructure (Twitter)

Ukraine is being assisted in its war efforts by the West through an unlimited supply of trained soldiers in the guise of mercenaries, modern weapons, ammunition, intelligence, and surveillance. Ukraine is regenerating its warfighting capability as fast as Russia is degrading it, arguably faster.

Russia will not be able to achieve its war aim of denazification unless it inflicts pain on the entire nation by crippling its power generation, communication, and command and control centers. Only when the general population starts to get restive will the current regime’s grip on the nation begin to slacken.

Western Ukraine hasn’t felt the pain of war for many months. There can be no denazification without subduing Western Ukraine. Logistics supplies from the US & NATO are routed through Western Ukraine; nationalists and Nazis are primarily based in Western Ukraine.

Scott Ritter feels, “The strategic targeting that’s taking place now and perhaps will take place over an extended period is designed to degrade the will and capability of the Ukrainian nation to continue to resist and [to] have a direct impact on the ability of the Ukrainian military to continue the struggle in the field.”

  • Vijainder K Thakur is a retired IAF Jaguar pilot. He is also an author, software architect, entrepreneur, and military analyst. VIEWS PERSONAL
  • Reach out to the author at vkthakur (at) gmail.com
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